Neutralization of Airborne Chemical by Sonic Beam Flocculation

Period of Performance: 04/30/1998 - 01/30/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Scientific Applications & Research Associates
6300 Gateway Dr. Array
Cypress, CA 90630
Principal Investigator


The international proliferation of chemical weapon of mass destruction agents has become a very serious threat to national security. A critical need exists to neutralize airborne chemical agents, in the event of their deliberate, collateral or accidental release. Sonic flocculation is a proven technique that rapidly and efficiently settles airborne droplets, dust and smoke. Intense high frequency sonic fields induce the rapid agglomeration of suspended particulates. The resulting heavier particles rapidly settle from the air to the ground. During Phase I, SARA will perform critical experiments to quantify the sonic frequency and intensity levels required to rapidly (under 30 seconds) neutralize airborne fogs and dusts. Similar materials will be chosen to provide particle sizes and densities comparable to actual specified chemical or biological warfare agents. To achieve sonic flocculation of large air volumes, high energy sources are required (?10's of kilowatts). SARA's high energy acoustic beam weapon technology can significantly exceed these acoustic powers. Our Phase I experiments will be used to design the Phase II test device for critical outdoor (field demonstrations). In addition to military application sonic flocculation can be applied to anti-terrorist missions as well as control of accidental (industrial) releases of hazardous materials. This technology will give a new and potentially very practical approach to the rapid neutralization of airborne chemical or biological agents. The proposed approach offers the ability to rapidly sweep out large air volumes by inducing fast settling of an airborne chemical and or biological warfare agents. The result will be compact directed energy technology suitable for both military, law enforcement and environmental applications.