From a not so well established car manufacturer in Sony, to one that has been around forever. Nissan is showing off a new material at this year’s CES which can help make car cabins quieter and boost energy efficiency.
Nissan calls its new breakthrough the acoustic meta-material. Its composition is simple, made of a lattice structure and plastic film. In combination, they control air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise emitted by roads or engines. Currently, most materials used to isolate this frequency are made of heavy rubber board. Nissan’s new alternative weighs one-fourth as much as these while providing the same degree of sound isolation.
Furthermore, the material’s simple structure means it is competitive enough to mass produce at similar rates or possibly at even better rates than current materials. Thus, Nissan’s new breakthrough could be applied to vehicles where the use of sound insulation materials was previously limited due to cost and/or weight.
Long time coming
Nissan did not just think of the new material in the last couple of years. In fact, its research on meta-material technology dates back to 2008. At the time, meta-material was used in high-sensitivity antennas for electromagnetic wave research. Nissan in turn worked to extend the applicability of this meta-material to include sound waves. And by doing so, it successfully invented its new acoustic meta-material.
By implementing this into vehicles, we could see a lot of benefits. The obvious knock-on effect would be lighter vehicles which in turn would help limit the environmental impact of driving. From a consumer level, it also enhances enjoyment as quiet vehicle cabins make driving more comfortable.