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Silent doors to prevent noise-related disorders

EU research funding helps researchers develop wooden doors and walls, able to reduce noise pollution at schools, hospital and homes

 

The EU-funded project Silentwood has developed multilayered wood-based doors and wall panels to reduce noise levels and improve citizens well-being. Noise pollution can cause health problems such as hearing loss and disturbed sleep in 2 out of 10 Europeans, say experts. It can also lead to important financial losses. The Silentwood Team proposes what might be a competitive and efficient solution.

The scientists have selected noise-absorbent materials, designed sound attenuating structures, and developed a sophisticated computer simulation tool to calculate the structures' mechanical, thermal and acoustic behaviours.

The result is a multi-layered wood material for the manufacture of doors and wall panels with a sound reduction of more than 37 decibels, primarily intended to moderate acoustic contamination at schools, hospitals and homes. This means, for instance, that a piano lesson would sound like a whisper on the other side of a room.

The new technology, developed at a pre-industrial scale, represents a new market opportunity for SME wood manufacturers. The first units are expected to be '30% to 50% cheaper than current applications with similar characteristics [less than €600] and they are already acoustic- and fire-resistance certified,' says Tomas Rodriguez, a representative at INSPIRALIA, the consortium partner leading the three-year project.

In addition, the innovative products tackle other needs of door and walls manufacturers as they comply with the main international mechanical and thermal requirements, as well as weighing less than 90kg.

The team of SMEs is now studying alternative applications and the possibility to make their products from 100% renewable resources to achieve a unique competitive position in the market.

Project's website

Factsheet by the European Commission / 9 December 2012