New Technology Could Make Aeroplane Cabins 100x Quieter

Aeroplanes are noisy, there are no two ways about it. Over long periods the sound can become oppressive - it's precisely the reason that noise-cancelling headphones exist.

Well now a group of researchers say they have created a revolutionary lightweight material that could reduce the noise in aeroplane cabins by over 100 times.

Yun Jing and his team at North Carolina State University worked in conjunction with MIT to create a lightweight membrane that covers the honeycomb structures within plane fuselages.

The problem is that a honeycomb design -- although strong -- is really bad at blocking out low frequency sounds. The team believe that by covering one side with this membrane the noise is then reflected rather than allowed through.

“It’s particularly effective against low-frequency noise,” Jing says. “At low frequencies – sounds below 500 Hertz – the honeycomb panel with the membrane blocks 100 to 1,000 times more sound energy than the panel without a membrane.”

According to the researchers, the membrane would be made of rubber just 0.25mm thick and would add only 6 per cent to the current weight of the honeycomb structures.