A team of scientists at the University of Surrey joined hands with Hopkins University to produce a new type of material which might make its way into the future of automobile manufacturing. The new material can bear the vigorous vibrations and has superior qualities to dampen sound. As compared to the materials that we use now, this new invention can replace metal used in automobiles like cars, trains, and even airplanes. The researchers used several layers of 3D woven technical textile composites which have selected unbounded fibers. This arrangement of layers can enable the middle layers of the textile to move while the layers outside stay rigid.
This is how the new material maintains a high rigidity while maintaining the dampening abilities. The combination of properties in this material is rare in other common elements which are usually found around us. This is because as the rigidity increases, it results in less movement of internal particles and results in low damping abilities. The opposite happens for dampening materials because as the packing between the internal layers loosens, the damping ability starts increasing.
As a result, the metals we get with high rigidity have a low dampening ability and a material like foam which is less rigid but have a high dampening ability. This new invention by the researchers is impressive and can have a major impact on the materials used in the manufacturing of many products which require both of these properties. Dr. Stefan Szyniszewski, the lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Materials and Structures at the University of Surrey, said, “The idea of a composite the resolves the paradox of stiffness and damping was thought to be impossible — yet here we are. This is an exciting development that could send shock waves through the car, train, and aerospace manufacturing industries. This is a material that could make the vehicles of the near future more comfortable than ever before.”
Cars and airplanes will become more silent if we replace the standard body panel materials like aluminum and steel with this new material. Automobile manufacturers use a significant amount of soundproofing materials to keep the sound and vibrations away from getting into the passenger cabin. The cabin of Rolls Royce Phantom VIII has the most silent passenger cabin among all other cars. To achieve this, the engineers at the Rolls Royce used 300 pounds worth of soundproofing material. However, this also affects the overall performance and fuel efficiency of the car. Not only performance but overall space also shrinks as a result of the used soundproofing material.
Using the 3D woven textile material in automobiles can save on weight and leave additional space in the car as well. Another reason is that this new invention looks so promising is its ability to maintain these characteristics at high temperatures as well. Research paper states, “In addition to damping and mechanical13 characteristics, 3DW lattice materials can exhibit tailored fluidic permeability, thermal transport and maintain their properties at high service temperature, which may suggest multi-functional capabilities for future studies.”