Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010 Science

Latest Invention: Latex Membranes that Makes Your Home Soundproof


If you like this invention you can vote for it here.Now it is possible to soundproof your home from the noisy neighbors next-door by using the latest invention developed by a team of researchers led by Zhiyu Yang at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Kowloon.

The researchers came up with noise-canceling panels that are made of latex rubber membrane which extends over a 3mm-thick rigid plastic grid composed of 1cm-wide squares. Each square has a tiny, weighted plastic button in the center. The system is quite inexpensive and very effective. Most walls cannot offer effective soundproof quality against low-frequencies sound waves, because the latter have a length of more than 3 meters in the air and even longer in solids, said Zhiyu Yang.

In order to be able to block all sound, a structure would require walls that are several meters think. Yang explains how their latest invention works: "The inner part of the membrane vibrates in opposite phase to the outer region." This means that sound waves negate each other and no sound passes through the membrane.

There's one little drawback: one latex membrane can protect against sound waves within a small band of frequencies. To solve the problem researchers decided to use five membranes at once. They stacked five latex membranes together and tuned each membrane to a particular band. By doing so they managed to block sound waves at frequencies between 70 and 550 hertz, informs New Scientist.

According to the team, their latest invention can be used in various noisy environments like airports.

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