Internal Skin for Aeroplanes Could Lead to Quieter Flights

By Gary Cutlack on at

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim to have proven a new form of insulation for aeroplanes, one that could reduce jet engine rumble to the volume of a trickling, distant stream.

The in-flight rumble problem, they say, is caused by the honeycomb-shaped reinforcements that give aeroplanes their strength. These formations are also excellent at conducting noise, which is a bit of a problem when you're sat 20 feet away from a jet engine for nine hours.

The solution could be a metamaterial just .25mm thick, which has been designed to bounce sound waves off and reduce the amount of low-frequency noise that gently hammers away at the soul during a long-haul flight. The skin sits over one side of the honeycomb structure, like the skin of a drum, somehow reflecting sound thanks to complex mathematical formulas.

NC State's mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Yun Jing said: "It's particularly effective against low-frequency noise. At low frequencies - sounds below 500 Hertz - the honeycomb panel with the membrane blocks 100 to 1,000 times more sound energy than the panel without a membrane."

Could also make a useful wallpaper for people living in new build flats. [APL via QZ]

[Top image credit: QZ]