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Sound solutions to low-frequency noise

By Gerald Ondrey |

Low-frequency noise (≤500 Hz) from various sources, such as construction machinery and aircrafts, is a form of noise pollution that transmits over long distances and disturbs the surrounding area. It is also known to trigger several negative physiological reactions, such as changes to blood pressure, vertigo and breathing difficulties, even when the noise is not audible. Currently, most commercially available noise-cancelling devices and structures are only effective in reducing high-frequency noise, while low-frequency noise continues to penetrate. Therefore, to more effectively mitigate low-frequency noise, a team of mechanical engineers from the National University of Singapore (NUS; www.nus.edu.sg) has designed a set of effective noise-attenuating blocks. Described in a recent issue of Acoustics, the 3-D printed blocks can be customized to cancel a specific noise frequency by adjusting the size of the air cavity and the neck opening within the block. The blocks can then be slotted into a grid-like host structure to function as a noise barrier. Laboratory studies showed that the modular design was capable of canceling low-frequency noise below 500 Hz by an average of 31 dB. This is said to be six times more effective than other…
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