09 Jul 2021

New noise-reducing material could transform noisy spaces

University News


In a recent collaboration, scientists have developed a new technology to turn plastic sheets into powerful noise-cancelling panels.

Our researchers have helped to develop a new material that gives unprecedented control on sound and noise. The material is to be trialled in hospitals and other noisy locations, such as by the roadside.

The panels have the same noise-reduction effect as two inches of plywood, but without the weight and bulk. Because they are easily movable, the panels can transform noisy and stressful spaces easily and quickly into more relaxed ones. And because they are porous, air and light can flow freely, which brings significant benefits in terms of creating spaces that are well lit and well-ventilated.

The technology will be trialled in intensive care wards, where the background noise can reach a level equivalent to listening to loud music through headphones or standing near a motorway.

The company behind the SonoblindTM panels, Metasonixx, is a spin out from the Universities of Sussex and Bristol. The company was founded by Dr Gianluca Memoli, from the School of Engineering of Informatics of the University of Sussex, and by Professor Bruce Drinkwater, of Bristol University.

Dr Gianluca Memoli demonstrating one of Metasonixx’s transparent panels which are designed to allow air through

The technology has a wide range of applications;

“Some of the panels can be used as grilles to silence air conditioning units and extractor fans or as part of window blinds, to keep the noise out while the window stays open.”

Dr Memoli, University of Sussex

If you are interested in learning more about this technology and how it could be applied, or in setting up a university collaboration, get in touch with the RISE team.

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