Acoustic Cloak Research Turns Practical

Acoustic cloaks, material coatings that could divert sound completely around objects, are the subject of continued research. A new study, Acoustic cloaking in two dimensions: a feasible approach, was published today in the New Journal of Physics by Daniel Torrent and José Sánchez-Dehesa from the Wave Phenomena Group, Department of Electronics Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

To realise the cloak physically, the Spanish research team calculated how metamaterials constructed with sonic crystals, solid cylinders in a periodic array that can scatter sound waves, could be used in a multilayered structure to divert sound completely around an object.

Results were very encouraging, showing that optimum cloaking requires approximately 200 layers of the metamaterial but that there is scope for much thinner materials to be used than technology can currently produce.

The material could be used in a concert hall to make pillars "disappear" acoustically. Note that this is different (I think) from the idea of creating an open air zone from which sound cannot escape (like Robert Heinlein's hush corner and Frank Herbert's cone of silence).

Read about the original research in 'Inaudibility Cloak' Is Theoretically Possible.

Via Nuisance noise silenced by an acoustic cloak; thanks to Mike Wahl for pointing this one out.

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