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Brief Published: 3 Jul 2015

Ultrasonic Clothes Dryer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A new technology offers potential for more efficient clothes dryers by using vibrations to dry laundry instead of heat, dramatically reducing the amount of time and energy used.

The process takes influence from commercial humidifiers that use ultrasonic transducers to create a cool mist in the air. This is applied to the clothes-drying process by using vibrations to transform the water in the laundry into a mist that evaporates into the air, rather than heating the clothing to extract the water.

Once developed to full scale, the groundbreaking method promises to reduce drying time by 15-20 minutes and use 5-10 times less energy than conventional dryers. The scientists behind the innovation, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, are working with US conglomerate General Electric to bring the technology to commercial level, and expect to have a fully working prototype by August 2016.

As highlighted in A Greener Clean, forward-thinking brands are looking to develop more sustainable products and processes to reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry. For more examples of designs that are disrupting conventional clothes-washing methods, see Dolfi: Ultrasonic Laundry Device and Swash: 10-Minute Clothing Care.