Keeping the peace
Sonobex – noise-cancelling structures for urban environments
The World Health Organization has, for many years, highlighted the health risks posed by environmental noise spanning tinnitus and hearing loss, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, the cognitive impairment of children, and sleep disturbance – not to mention the negative impacts on our mental and social well-being.
To help mitigate these risks, we have explored the use of novel acoustic metamaterials to create a game-changing, cost-effective noise control technology – commercialised via our spinout company, Sonobex.
- Sonobex was founded in 2012 to commercialise our technology.
- In 2014, the company completed its first major investment round and went into global manufacture with Metsec plc.
- In January 2017, Sonobex was acquired by the Dutch engineering and manufacturing company, Merford - specialists in noise control.
- The company has achieved ISO 9001:2015 Quality Assurance Certification.
- Sonobex’s NoiseTrap® acoustic panels are now used at sites across Europe.
Conventional noise barriers are solid structures – they effectively reduce noise pollution, but prevent the free flow of air and light.
Our work explored the use of acoustic metamaterials – specifically sonic crystals – arranged in arrays of cylindrical rods to create noise barriers.
We found that by adjusting the distance between the rods, it is possible to vary the range of sound frequency blocked, broadening their application across sectors including construction, industry, transport and power generation.
The spacing also facilitates the flow of air and light, offering a major advantage when air cooling of equipment is required.
What’s more, the system can be manufactured from a range of materials, allowing designs to architecturally enhance a building – for example as window coverings that provide shade, noise reduction and air flow.
Wind loading can be a problem for conventional solid noise barriers, requiring the need for considerable supports. The wind permeability of our barriers reduces this problem.
Our disruptive technology offers a range of far-reaching economic, environmental, and health and wellbeing impacts.
- East Midlands Development Agency
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Innovate UK
- Royal Academy of Engineering
Venture capital funding was raised and Sonobex was founded in 2012 to commercialise our technology. In 2014, the company completed its first major investment round and went into global manufacture with Metsec plc. In January 2017, Sonobex was acquired by the Dutch engineering and manufacturing company, Merford.