If you live in a New York apartment, and your upstairs neighbor comes home every night at 2am and cranks up the opera — there’s a time-honored solution for that — bang a broom on the ceiling.
But wherever you live, your neighbor’s music probably isn’t the only, or even the loudest assault on your ears.
And one “family” of noises, the kind of sound that airplanes overhead make, or construction machinery down the street — that sound is loud (you know that), it’s bad for you (hearing loss, duh — but also higher blood pressure, breathing trouble, bad sleep). AND in case that wasn’t’ enough, those sounds are in a frequency range (low) that’s particularly hard to keep out. Ouch.
But now to the rescue comes — science!
And not surprisingly, the work was done by scientists in Singapore, which is a particularly dense and loud city. Their solution? Little 3D-printed hollow plastic blocks — sealed with a specialized polyester film (Mylar). And those air pockets inside each block soak up the sound. You can even customize the blocks, so that one wall can be tailored to absorb a variety of sounds. The frame for the blocks is printed from a polylactide filament. The polylactide begins with ethylene (converted to acetaldehyde, then to lactide) and the polyester’s building blocks are ethylene and xylene.
If you like to see your science, by the way, here’s what those blocks look like…