Designing hybrid aerogel-3D printed absorbers for simultaneous low frequency and broadband noise control

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Recent studies have demonstrated that granular aerogels with sub-50 μm particles surpass conventional acoustic materials like glass fibers and polyurethane foams in low-frequency sound absorption. However, incorporating such granular materials within practical structural solutions remains a challenge. In this study, we use additive manufacturing to overcome this challenge by designing a modular geometry that allows us to encapsulate such granular materials within a 3D printed scaffold. Using the 3D printed porous scaffold provides the added benefits of tunability and durability. Further, we introduce a design methodology and software tool to facilitate the efficient design of such hybrid sound absorbers. The proposed method uses the Johnson-Champoux-Allard model, Biot theory, and the transfer matrix method to model the acoustical behavior of hybrid absorber designs that use layered granular aerogels and 3D printed bulk absorbers. The tool can also be used to inversely characterize the acoustic bulk properties of such materials. We validate the design concept and tool by comparing the model predictions with experimental measurements. Finally, we outline strategies for designing hybrid absorbers that can provide application specific low-frequency and broadband absorption performance within specific frequency ranges, while considering engineering constraints on their total mass and depth.

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Materials and Design