Silence Never Felt So Good: MIT Researchers Develop Thin Fabric that Dampens Sound and Provides Acoustic Insulation

Quiet Spaces: Noise-Suppressing Fabric Designed to Create Peaceful Environments

A team of researchers from MIT and other institutions have come up with a groundbreaking silk fabric that can dampen sound and provide acoustic insulation in interior spaces. The material, which is incredibly thin, contains a special fiber that vibrates when voltage is applied to it. These vibrations are used in two distinct ways to minimize sound.

In one method, the vibrating fabric generates sound waves that interfere with unwanted noise, canceling it out similar to noise-cancelling headphones. This approach works well in small spaces like ears but not in larger enclosures such as rooms or airplanes. In the second technique, the fabric is kept still to suppress vibrations that are necessary for sound transmission, further reducing noise volume. This technique allows for noise reduction in larger spaces like rooms or cars.

Using common materials like silk, canvas, and muslin, the researchers have created noise-suppressing fabrics that can be implemented in real-world settings. For instance, these fabrics could be used to make dividers in open workspaces or thin walls that block sound transmission. Professor Yoel Fink, the lead author of the research, highlights the importance of creating peaceful environments with a thin sheet of fabric rather than thick walls.

The study on the fabric was recently published in Advanced Materials, highlighting its potential impact on creating tranquil environments.

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