A Nissan innovation that makes vehicles quieter and more energy efficient has won the 2020 Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in the automotive category.
Established in 1872, Popular Science is one of the U.S.’s oldest and most trusted brands, reporting on innovations and discoveries.
Nissan’s acoustic meta-material is a lightweight sound insulation material that is made up of a lattice structure and plastic film, which controls air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise, such as road and engine noise. Most of the materials used today on automobiles for isolating these loud noises are made of a heavy rubber board, but Nissan’s new material is one-fourth the weight of the previous board yet provides the same degree of sound isolation.
“We plan to use acoustic meta-material in a wide range of applications — not only in luxury cars and electric vehicles, but also in vehicles where the use of heavy sound insulation materials has been limited,” said Susumu Miura, Nissan’s advanced material engineer in charge of the acoustic meta-material project. “Through development and use of this material, we aim to make our customers’ driving experience more comfortable and enjoyable.”
Nissan started its research on meta-material technology in 2008. At the time, meta-material was used in highly-sensitivity antennas used for electromagnetic wave research. Nissan worked to extend the application of meta-material technology to include sound waves, leading to the successful invention of the acoustic meta-material. The new material was first unveiled by Nissan at the CES trade show in Las Vegas in early January.
The acoustic meta-material is currently under development for commercialization.
Nissan has manufacturing facilities in Mississippi and Tennessee. These two plants build the Altima and Maxima sedans; the LEAF electric sedan; Frontier, Titan and Titan XD pickup trucks; Murano, Rogue and Pathfinder SUVs; Nissan NV passenger and cargo vans and the Infiniti QX60 SUV.