Meringue-Like Graphene-Based Aerogel Material Could Make Aircraft As Quiet as a Hairdryer

Lightweight aerogel suspended in honeycomb structure.
Credit: University of Bath

Extremely low-density graphene-based aerogel ‘meringue’ can improve passenger comfort and reduce noise up to 80%.

An incredibly light new material that can reduce aircraft engine noise and improve passenger comfort has been developed at the University of Bath.

The graphene oxide-polyvinyl alcohol aerogel weighs just 2.1kg per cubic metre, making it the lightest sound insulation ever manufactured. It could be used as insulation within aircraft engines to reduce noise by up to 16 decibels — reducing the 105-decibel roar of a jet engine taking off to a sound closer to that of a hair-dryer.

The aerogel’s meringue-like structure makes it extremely light, meaning it could act as an insulator within aircraft engine nacelles, with almost no increase in overall weight. The material is currently being further optimised by the research team to offer improved heat dissipation, offering benefits to fuel efficiency and safety.

Researchers from Bath’s Materials and Structures Centre (MAST) have published a method for manufacturing the materials in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

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