Nissan develops a sound-insulating metamaterial that is 75% lighter
In addition to the shock absorbers that filter out road irregularities, the soundproofing of a car is also the other key aspect in judging a vehicle's comfort. Reducing engine, rolling and aerodynamic noises requires generally heavy materials that end up penalizing handling and fuel consumption.
Nissan unveiled a promising new breakthrough in this area at the 2020 CES. This is a new acoustic metamaterial that is significantly lighter than the soundproofing materials currently in use. This metamaterial consists of a reticular structure and a plastic film that limits the transmission of noise in a frequency range between 500 and 1,200 hertz.
This metamaterial is 75% lighter than traditional soundproofing materials. Used in quantity, these metamaterials will significantly reduce the mass of future vehicles and further improve sound insulation. Research on metamaterials is not new, dating back to 2008. At that time, however, no automotive use was considered.
This is a promising step forward, although Nissan has not yet revealed when these metamaterials will be applied to production cars. Nissan is already considering mass production to make the metamaterials economically viable. For now, the brand is testing its metamaterials on the Nissan Ariya concept and explaining how they work.