Sonic or other non-water shower

This question was in an SDMB thread about Star Trek technology (sorry, couldn’t get link to work) but no one answered it in that or any other thread I can find: do sonic showers really work? (Actually the question in the ST thread was, would a sonic shower make you go deaf?) Alternatively, are there any other theoretical non-water cleaning methods which we might see in the future which might replace the shower on the space station? (Couldn’t get that link to work either! Go here and scroll down if you want to see the space station shower.)

fixed link - DrMatrix

Sorry, that link didn’t work. Just trust me that the shower on the space station uses water.

A shower that uses blue superpowered hedgehogs? Sounds painful.

1/ Find something dirty (yourself after a hard day, perhaps)

2/ Stand in front of a loudspeaker

3/ Put some loud music on. In fact, play about with various types of music and other sounds at various volumes. Play some really high pitched music. Play some low pitched music.

Feel any cleaner? Nope. Thought not. Since when has vibrating air (which is all sound is) been able to clean anything, absent other solvents?

Try saying to yourself “sound shower” instead of “sonic shower”. Do you think that would work? It’s amazing how one’s perception of technology changes if you use a scientific-sounding term. It’s a trick used all the time in science fiction:

“I’ll use my sonic screwdriver on the textile dehydration unit”

Sure Doctor, but why exactly do you need to use a noisy screwdriver on the clothesdryer, anyway?

Cetaphil. Not quite a sinic shower, but a lifesaver when my water heater died, and I couldn’t get it replaced for a week. During the week I was using Cetaphil, I felt just as clean as when I took daily hot showers, and my skin was in better shape in the end. Too bad hot showes are so addicting …

I think your statement is a little [I can’t resist] sweeping. Here are a few links that suggest that there might be something to using sound for cleaning:[ul][li]Blackstone~NEY Ultrasonics[/li][li]Kockum Sonics[/li][li]PMR[/li]Sonic Systems, Inc.[/ul]Forty-five seconds of Google work.

It’s not ‘sweeping’ at all. Ultrasonic cleaning WRT those links is using sound and water or some other solvent to clean, not just using sound and air as Princhester was talking about. The OP was also asking about non-water cleaning techniques.

One coud perhaps create a ‘dry cleaning’ shower for space use, but it’d be pointless to use chimcals to clean your body in space or anywhere else when water seems to work fine; especially since you’re going to be recycling your waste water on a long trip anyway.

I believe Cerowyn’s links refer to ultrasonic cleaners that use liquid. Those are very common for cleaning mechanical parts, as well as eyeglasses. The parts are immersed in a liquid (usually water with detergent) and blasted with ultrasonic waves. The waves cause the part to vibrate, causing cavitation at the surface. The continual creation and collapse of these microscopic cavities effectively scrub the surface. This mechanism only works in liquid - air is highly compressible and doesn’t cavitate.

So an ultrasonic bath is a possibility, but that won’t save you any water. It might be painful too - if you put a piece of aluminum foil in an ultrasonic cleaner, it gets thoroughly pitted. I don’t want that to happen to my skin.

Another consideration is that the gunk on your skin contains a lot of salt. You can’t remove that purely by vibration, you need a solvent.

I think the idea of sonic showers is pretty absurd. We already have showers that work in zero-G. It’s just a matter of improving the water reclamation technology.

No liquid, no cavitation. Very loud sound can make smoke particles lump together and fall down like snow flakes. You may use sound to shake dirt off of hard things like pipes. But any sound able to move the dirt on your skin would rather liquefy your body cells. This ultrasonic liquefaction is used for liposuction.
If you insist on a gaseous carrier medium, maybe sandblasting would work. :slight_smile:

The cavitation you talk about doesn’t happen at your skin in the unfortunate case you have your hand in an untrasonic cleaner, it happens at your bones, and even worse, at and in your nerve fibers.

Stick your hand in an industrial ultrasonic cleaner operating above 500khz and you may not even feel it, or your hand, ever again. I hear it takes about 5 seconds to destroy every nerve in your hand at those frequencies and in an industrial application.

Yeah, if I had just thought about it for a minute I would have realized that humans are going to need water anyway, so it’s going to be available, and there’s really no reason for any other washing method.

I fell for it.

Well now I dont see why people in star-trek couldnt take water (or any other chemical(s)) showers. They have those darned replicators, why not just replicate a whole bunch of water? Id imagine the intensity of the sound required would, indeed, make you deaf.

Sure there’s non-water means of cleaning. The ancient greeks used to rub oil all over their bodies then scrape it off with wooden combs, presumably taking the dirt with it.

Better get a permit from the EPA the Dihydrogen Monoxide Gas that will be liberated by the textile dehydration unit as it operates coudl cause problems.:smiley:

I remember reading (probably in the Wall Street Journal) an article by a Western reporter who visited Siberia in the late 1980s or early '90s. He described taking a “shower” without benefit of water. I think it somehow involved static electricity. The reporter described it as being distinctly less satisfactory than a real shower, but better than nothing.

The students at research the possibility of making water drops ‘fall’ in zero-gravity by means of an electrostatic field.