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File photo of Nissan logo (REUTERS)
File photo of Nissan logo (REUTERS)

Nissan wins award for technology that makes cars quieter, more energy efficient

  • Nissan's new technology - acoustic meta-material - is a lightweight sound insulation material.
  • When noise hits this material, it bounces the noise back, reducing the noise that passes through the material and reaches the cabin.

Nissan has won the 2020 Popular Science award for technology that can help make cars quieter and more energy efficient. The noise-reducing technology is known as acoustic meta-material.

Nissan's new innovation is a lightweight sound insulation material. It is a combination of a lattice structure and plastic film that controls air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise (500-1200 hertz), such as road and engine noise. When noise hits this material, it bounces the noise back. Thus, reducing the noise that passes through this material and reaches the cabin.

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Nissan's acoustic meta-material
Nissan's acoustic meta-material

While typically, the materials used to isolate this noise frequency band mainly consists of heavy rubber board, Nissan’s acoustic meta-material is one-fourth that weight. And yet, provides the same degree of sound isolation, says Nissan. The lightening of the body weight of the vehicle helps improve driving performance and fuel efficiency.

Though electric vehicles are quieter compared to gasoline vehicles as there is no engine sound, however, the sound of the road becomes more distinct in the cabin. Nissan's sound insulation system helps reduce this noise in the cabin, making electric vehicles far more quieter.

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Nissan says that being lightweight and yet offering outstanding quietness is the biggest breakthrough of its technology. The company plans to use acoustic meta-material in a wide range of applications. "Not only in luxury cars and electric vehicles, but (the technology can also be used) in vehicles where the use of heavy sound insulation materials has been limited," said Susumu Miura, Nissan’s advanced material engineer in charge of the acoustic meta-material project.

The acoustic meta-material is currently under development for commercialization. “Through development and use of this material, we aim to make our customers’ driving experience more comfortable and enjoyable," Miura added.

The Popular Science award, established in 1872, is one of the US' oldest brands that reports on groundbreaking innovations and discoveries.

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