Party-Pooping Scientists Want To Make Air Shows Less Awesome With Jet Engine-Quieting Sponges

Illustration for article titled Party-Pooping Scientists Want To Make Air Shows Less Awesome With Jet Engine-Quieting Sponges

Dammit science. For all the good you do, you can be a real Debbie Downer sometimes. We like it when you cure diseases and invent awesome new materials like silicene, but when you take away the mighty roar of a jet fighter, that's when you've gone too far.

Specifically to blame is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Alabama, Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal, who was recently awarded a patent for a new foam-like material that promises to dramatically reduce the deafening roar of a jet engine. Researchers have known how to quiet an engine for some time, but it required a special material that could withstand the heat and pressure from flying at high altitudes, which is exactly what Dr. Agrawal and his colleagues have discovered.

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Illustration for article titled Party-Pooping Scientists Want To Make Air Shows Less Awesome With Jet Engine-Quieting Sponges

Composed of hafnium carbide and silicon carbide, the porous material is actually placed directly into a jet engine's flame where it 'absorbs' and cuts down on the noise without affecting the combustion reaction.

In fact, it turns out that tackling the problem at the source of the noise is actually cheaper than trying to mask it at the point of exhaust, which requires extra hardware resulting in a heavier engine. And less noise means there's less vibrations and wear and tear on an engine when its running, which reduces maintenance costs and increases its lifecycle. So it's not surprising that Dr. Agrawal's work was funded by the U.S. Navy who operates a small air force of its own, and should be embraced by every aircraft maker in the world if the material lives up to its potential. [The University of Alabama via Gizmag]

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DISCUSSION

sysengsteve
SysEngSteve

So is there any chance this could mitigate/minimize the effect of a sonic-boom in super-sonic jet flight? Obviously the sonic-boom is not caused by the engine, but I'm curious if it would in any way effect the intensity of the boom? Or is the boom simply a function of the mass of the moving object? That being said - most military flight is sub-sonic so its more a matter of curiosity than anything else.