Reducing waste and keeping the noise down
A sound-proofing material made almost entirely from recycled industrial waste has been developed by researchers at the University of Bradford.
Designed to dampen the effects of vibration as well as absorb sound, the material was demonstrated to be up to 50 per cent more effective than other materials on the market - despite being around three times as thin.
The University of Bradford set up a spin out company, called Acoutech, to commercialise the technology used to produce the material.
This technology was licensed to Armacell, a global company specialising in insulation products, which began to produce sound insulation products under the brand name ArmaSound. These have been used throughout the world in sound-proofed linings for vehicles and industrial-scale machinery. The company is now able to use up to 95 per cent of its own waste materials to produce ArmaSound products.
A real breakthrough for the technology came when it was approved for use in large-scale pipework projects. This led to the development of a compact insulation system that is now used widely to reduce the noise from large pipes at facilities such as petrochemical plants and offshore oil platforms.
In 2012 Armacell were awarded a contract to supply ArmaSound to the Gorgon Gas Project, a $45 billion natural gas facility to be constructed off the coast of Western Australia. This is the largest facility of its kind ever constructed and will use ArmaSound insulation in around 200km of pipe-work.
The technology developed at the University of Bradford has had a huge impact on large industries worldwide which need to control noise pollution. Not only has it been effective in reducing noise pollution, it has also created an environmental benefit, through using recycled materials that would otherwise go straight into landfill.
Through Armacell, the technology has created a significant economic benefit as well, creating over 20 jobs and enabling the company to achieve significant growth each year.
For more information about this type of research, visit Centre for Sustainable Environments.