Sound deadening plays a very important role in vehicles. They help make the cabin quiet and not to mention the ride more comfortable. However, most traditional sound deadening materials are quite heavy in order to block out noises. As such, cars with lots of sound deadening often end up being heavyweights.
The engineers over at Nissan however, have developed a new lightweight alternative to the traditional sound deadening called acoustic meta-material. Nissan claims the material is simple consisting of a lattice structure and plastic film. The latter controls air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise (500-1200 hertz), such as road and engine noise.
Because the acoustic meta-material is made up of simple items, it is a lot lighter than traditional sound deadening materials usually composed of heavy rubber boards. The automaker says the new sound deadening weighs one-fourth as much traditional sound deadening while providing the same degree of sound isolation.
Its advantages don’t end there. Because of its lightweight, vehicles fitted with Nissan’s acoustic meta-materials also become more efficient. The automaker says lighter vehicles also make for a more enjoyable drive on the road. Due to its simple structure, the acoustic meta-material also costs the same or even less than current sound deadening materials used today.
Research regarding meta-material technology started way back in 2008. At the time, its applications were mostly limited to “high-sensitivity antennas” for electromagnetic wave research. Nissan engineers managed to apply the technology to other applications involving sound waves. This eventually lead to the creation of the lightweight acoustic meta-material.
For now, Nissan has not mentioned which vehicles will be fitted with this new lightweight sound deadening material. A video does show it fitted onto the Ariya Concept, so it could be the first to get the new materials. In the meantime, visitors of the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) can experience Nissan’s acoustic meta-material in person.