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Latest Research Projects

ArmaSound - high performance low cost acoustic absorber

Armafoam Sound developed at the University of Bradford is a high performance low cost acoustic absorber that is designed for demanding applications.

Through its structure, formulation and composition this material can offer around twice the acoustic energy absorption in a given thickness when compared with traditional materials. This allows designers and specifiers to reduce the space that they consume and to reduce the noise that users experience.

Armafoam Sound is the result of 4 years of research into poro-elastic materials that exhibit potential acoustic absorption capabilities. By modelling and optimising the material’s micro-structure, this product is designed to have very high levels of absorption across the frequency range.

Armafoam Sound can also be specially designed to meet the specific needs of the customer by being designed to focus its absorption at particular problem frequencies. This allows for a greater enhancement of the products noise control capabilities.

Most forms of noise will contain contributions from both air-borne and structure-borne sound. Although measures can be taken to limit structure-borne components, such as by isolation and damping, air-borne sound can be treated with the use of absorbing materials. Armafoam Sound has an extremely high absorption performance per unit thickness, offering a solution for the most demanding applications.

ArmaSound – a recycled multifunctional product:

  • Recycled sustainable material developed in partnership between the University of Bradford and Armacell.
  • Manufactured from post production foam scrap (Extruded NBR/EPDM Elastomeric thermal insulation)
  • Product offers very high levels of acoustic absorption. In addition the product offers:
    • Improved fire performance
    • Good chemical resistance
    • Combined thermal and acoustic properties
    • Mechanical stability and durability
    • Flexibility and ease of application
    • Resistance to fluid ingress - Hydrophobic properties
    • Resistance to microbial growth
  • Low manufacturing and raw material costs allow for the product to be competitive in the market

ArmaSound performance graphs

Download as a PDF:

ArmaSound Performance Graphs (PDF, 1MB)

ArmaSound Performance Graph.

ArmaSound Performance Comparison Graph.

For more information contact Amir Khan: A.Khan117@bradford.ac.uk

Soil Structure Interaction

Buried structures such as tunnels, shelters and other underground infrastructures are important civil engineering structures in the modern world. Buried structures are becoming more and more widespread as a consequence of the decreasing availability of quality above ground space and resources due to fast growing populations.

The research project aims at acquiring better understanding of the behaviour of buried structures under dynamic loading e.g. blast and impact loads. For a proper design and analysis of underground structure response, the whole system behaviour including simulation of blast loads, propagation of shock waves through the soil medium, interaction of the surrounding soils with buried structure and the structure response is numerically simulated in a single model.

More information

For more information contact Dr. Mostafa Mohamed: M.H.A.Mohamed@bradford.ac.uk

Development of improved shear connection rules in composite beams (DISCCO)

This research, in the area of composite construction, is related to the behaviour of shear connectors in composite beams. The work has underpinned design treatments in British, European and other national standards for composite construction.

Finite element models were developed and have been confirmed against the results of laboratory tests to properly represent each major facet of behaviour and this has permitted a better understanding of the complex load transfer mechanisms.

The tested specimen is 15.6m in length and 3.0m in width. It is the largest specimen has been tested in laboratory for composite cellular beam in the Europe.

The research started in July 2012 and is due for completion in June 2015.

Collaborative research partners

  • The Steel Construction Institute, UK
  • University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • Arcelor Mittal Profil, Luxembourg,

Funding

  • EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel
  • GroundForce Shorco Ltd.

More information

For more information contact Professor Dennis Lam: d.lam1@bradford.ac.uk

Acoustic technology for monitoring the condition of sewer pipes

This research provides the scientific basis for the development of a range of acoustic instruments for monitoring the aging underground sewer infrastructure in real time.

We have developed low cost instruments that provide rapid acoustic assessment of the condition of sewer pipes. A particular acoustic technology which resulted from this research, SewerBattTM is a fully functioning, easy to use, lightweight but robust instrument, capable of fault detection in live sewers in the field.

The University is in the process of setting up a spin-off company, British Acoustic Technology Limited (BATL), which will manufacture and market SewerBattTM. There is a strong interest in this technology and it is estimated that within 5 years the company will turn over over £12M through the domestic and overseas sales.

SewerBattTM possesses a clear technological advantage in an immature market for rapid sewer inspection instruments. This technology can respond to the challenge of the regulatory and economic pressures compelling water companies to improve the way they manage their sewer systems. Longer lengths of underground pipes in the UK and overseas can now be surveyed more often whilst the industry is under pressure to cut costs.

In the UK alone there is 300,000 km of public underground main sewers, with an estimated replacement value of £104 billion. By recent legislation in the UK, water companies have now been given the additional responsibility of small diameter private drains and sewers, potentially totalling 200,000 km. It is uneconomical to survey the whole sewer system on a regular basis using CCTV and the new acoustic technology offers a revolutionary step change in way the conditions of these assets can be monitored.

Highways Agency and County Councils serve over 50,000 km of motorways, trunks and class A roads. Similarly to water companies, these organisations have little knowledge of the location and condition of their extensive drainage assets which can be efficiently surveyed with the developed technology.

Structural steel elliptical hollow sections

This EPSRC-funded research looks at the behaviour of elliptical steel hollow sections.

The development of design rules will have an immediate impact upon industry by enabling designers to design using this form of structure.

Based on this project, we are carrying out further collaborative research with world leading universities; Tsinghua University (China) and Warwick University (UK), on buckling, crushing, bending and structural fire behaviour of stub, slender concrete filled tube columns and joint assemblies with various steel hollow sections and materials.

Collaborative partners

  • Imperial College London
  • Corus
  • Oval
  • Steel Construction Institute

Funding

EPSRC

More information

For more information contact Professor Dennis Lam: d.lam1@bradford.ac.uk

INNERS - INNovative Energy Recovery Strategies within the Urban Water Cycle

INNERS “INNovative Energy Recovery Strategies within the Urban Water Cycle” is an EU Interreg IVB NWE funded research project.

Inners project aims to identify and exploit opportunities for energy recovery and reuse of energy within the urban water cycle.

Partners:

Researchers at the University of Bradford work closely with another 10 partners from academia, industry and local authorities.

  • Kirklees Council, UK
  • Water Board Groot Salland, Netherlands
  • Water Board Vallei en Veluwe, Netherlands
  • Wupperverband, Germany
  • Lille Metropole, France
  • Vlario, Belgium
  • Aquafin, Belgium
  • Siden, Luxemburg
  • Henri Tudor, Luxemburg
  • University of Luxemburg, Luxemburg

The research work at the University of Bradford primarily focuses on:

  • Enhancing the recovery and dissipation of thermal energy for heating and cooling of residential houses from interaction with the local storm water (in collaboration with Kirklees Council.
  • Developing an energy balance assessment tool for the urban water cycle (in collaboration with all partners).
  • Modelling of thermal energy fluxes over the whole urban drainage system to identify opportunities for action and to value the recovery and re-use of such energy (in collaboration with Aqufin, Belgium).

More information

For more information contact Dr Mostafa Mohamed: m.h.a.mohamed@bradford.ac.uk

Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation

Current activities are mainly focussed on two complementary research programmes on river basin management in Africa.

'Water governance, livelihoods and wellbeing: adapting to change in African river basins'

The first is a project development grant funded by NERC/ESRC/DFID under the Ecosystems Services and Poverty Alleviation Programme. We are working with academics from the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania.

'Understanding water governance in challenging environments'

For the second project we are carrying out research with the University of Dar-es-Salaam on the Usangu Basin, in south-west Tanzania. In this programme, which is funded by the British Academy, we are studying the evolution of institutions for water governance in the Usangu basin.

More information

For more information contact Professor Tom Franks. Email: T.R.Franks@bradford.ac.uk

Ashford's Integrated Alternatives

The Ashford's Integrated Alternatives (AIA) project aims to explore the extent to which more integrated urban utility service provision, can contribute to enhancing the adaptive capacity of different service sectors and thereby improve the sustainability of urban development.

This will be achieved by researching issues of scale, integration and delivery, in order to reduce resource usage, limit damaging emissions, manage innovation and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of study area, Ashford, Kent. The Bradford component of work focuses on how the public are engaged (or not), in processes of water and energy management.

Partners:

  • EPSRC
  • University of Exeter
  • Imperial College London
  • Cranfield University
  • University of Surrey
  • Ashford's Future
  • ARUP Group Ltd
  • Atkins
  • Bioregional Development Group
  • Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management
  • Environment Agency
  • IPM-Net
  • London Borough of Southwark
  • Ofgem
  • Waterwise

More information

For more information contact Dr Liz Sharp. Email: E.Sharp@bradford.ac.uk

Holistic and sustainable abatement of noise

Holistic and sustainable abatement of noise by optimized combinations of natural and artificial means (HOSSANA)

Current city layouts and plans are the results of many factors but acoustic comfort is rarely one of them. The conventional approaches to noise reduction in urban areas include visually-intrusive barriers, which also contribute to severance, pervious pavements, double-glazing and traffic calming. In rural areas, conventional methods include noise barriers and cuttings.

The thrust of this EU FP7 funded research is that there are many areas and surfaces near transport corridors that could be exploited and optimized for acoustical purposes. These include verges, embankments, cycle tracks, walk-ways, building facades, balconies, roofs, car parking areas, parks and open spaces.

Building facades can be designed to be acoustically beneficial as well as decorative and new street furniture can be designed to be acoustically functional. Although parks and open spaces are used to provide a pleasant breathing space their ability to be acoustically restorative could be significantly improved through design. 

BCSE'S Contribution 

It is recognised that urban noise barriers continue to be produced largely from virgin materials that include concrete, masonry, timber, metal and acrylic glass, however recently noise barriers that incorporate recycled polymeric waste have been proposed. Colleagues within the Bradford Centre for Sustainable Environments have already shown how reconstituted polymeric waste can be converted into quality acoustic materials and are now busy researching how this can be applied to outdoor noise control systems.

In addition they are examining the acoustic and sustainability qualities of an alternative noise barrier system, composed of a living wall with porous material made from polymeric waste incorporated within the build. The key requirements required to model the living wall are:

  • the acoustic absorption coefficient
  • the complex acoustic impedance/admittance
  • transmission loss

These characteristics are required for a single porous layer and for a stack of porous layers that may form a noise barrier or lining for a building facade.

A majority of the materials that this project deals with belong to a class of fibrous media and foams that are contaminated with a small proportion of granular matter. Another class of materials that has been developed for this project is made from recycled car dashboard crumb. These are high density (600-800 kg/m3), high flow resistivity (> 1000 kPa s m-2) products, that have been developed to provide a good transmission loss performance when installed in noise barriers and absorption building facades.

More information

For more information contact Dr Amir Khan at A.Khan117@bradford.ac.uk  

Sonic characterisation of water surface waves, turbulence, mixing and bed friction

This EPSRC (EP/G015341/1)  funded project is a collaboration between Bradford University, Cardiff University and The Open University.

The goal of the project is to develop low cost non-invasive instrumentation for the monitoring of shallow water flows.

The University of Bradford University  recently developed a new ultrasonic technology for characterising the dynamic surface shape of the air-water interface, and currently has a patent pending on the design.

The team has also derived several important relationships between the hydraulic boundary conditions and the statistical moments of the water surface fluctuations, which allow for these conditions to be quantified based solely on the acoustically measured water surface shape.

Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is being used to provide enhanced understanding of the relationship between the water surface waves and the underlying flow structure, in order to establish further links between the surface's acoustic response and the hydraulic boundary conditions.

The success of the project will provide a revolutionary piece of equipment that will allow water industries to accurately monitor the conditions of their fluids and flow conduits, in a totally non-invasive low maintenance and cost-effective manner. 

More information

For more information email: cse@bradford.ac.uk 

PREPARED - addressing challenges for water supply and sanitation brought about by climate change

PREPARED is an EC FP7 funded project which seeks to>develop advanced strategies in meeting the upcoming challenges for water supply and sanitation brought about by climate change.

It provides a framework that links comprehensive research with development programmes in these utilities. The vision is that this connection can provide significant synergistic opportunities that the utilities will draw on to improve their preparedness for the ongoing changes related to the provision of water supply and sanitation.

The research carried out by The University of Bradford as part of the PREPARED (external link) project primarily focuses on water governance structures that support a more adaptive and water sensitive future. The primary aim of the project is to deliver tools, and the knowledge and learning material, for all stakeholders to be able to build capacity for managing water supply and sanitation using an adaptive approach. To address this aim the research seeks to explore:

  1. What are the range of water futures that actors want to achieve?
  2. What are the rationales through which these various water futures are justified?
  3. What are the arenas and processes in which the differences between contrasting water futures are manifested?
  4. What encourages or limits an enabling environment in which actors can achieve the desired change?

The initial findings of this study have now been published in a report entitled: A framework for adopting to climate change in the water and sanitation sector: The case of Wales

This report presents outcomes from an intense research phase in which our partner utility in the Prepared project, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW), and other organisations with some role in water management in Wales have been examined in terms of their work towards climate change adaptation.

View the PREPARED Report 

For more information contact Dr Liz Sharp. Email: E.Sharp@bradford.ac.uk

Tranquillity and soundscapes in urban open spaces

Tranquil environments have been related to stress reduction, well being and recovery from illness. It is therefore important to determine factors that contribute to tranquillity and positive soundscapes in order to design and improve urban spaces that can benefit the living conditions of the citizen.

Indeed a key recommendation of the recent Government report published in 2010 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives - The Marmot Review' specifically mentions the need to 'create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities'. Specifically this involves 'Improving the availability of good quality open and green spaces across the social gradient'.

Research into factors that affect perceived tranquillity carried out by Professor Greg Watts and Dr Rob Pheasant, employed a number of techniques including laboratory studies under controlled conditions, jury experiments in real environments and questionnaire surveys.

A predictive model TRAPT (Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool) has been developed, which enables perceived tranquillity to be predicted in a range of environments, based essentially on man-made noise levels and the natural and contextual components of the visual scene.

The tool has recently been validated by conducting interviews with visitors in seven green spaces in the Bradford metropolitan area. In all these areas the major source of noise was from road traffic. Such a tool will be of use in designing and improving green spaces and maximising the benefits of such visits to our open spaces.

Working with SCANLab at Sheffield University has enabled the biological underpinning of this work is being explored. Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) it has been possible for the first time to investigate how the human brain responds to tranquil and non-tranquil environments. Experiments are planned using a wider range of stimuli and experimental subjects, which will further improve the tranquillity prediction model.

Elucidation of the factors and mechanisms underlying subjective tranquillity will be a major achievement and produce significant new knowledge with respect to key environmental factors and architectural / planning interventions that affect personal tranquil state.

The project will provide insights into how to design tranquil spaces for the general public and restorative environments of relevance to recovery from stress and illness.

More information

For further details email either Greg Watts: g.r.watts@bradford.ac.uk or Rob Pheasant: r.j.pheasant2@bradford.ac.uk  

Quieting the Environment for a Sustainable Surface Transport (QUIESST)

QUIESST is a three year project  funded by the EU that began late in 2009. It is a multi-disciplinary venture undertaken by 13 EU partners from 8 countries.

Within the project, specialist members of the Bradford Centre for Sustainable Environments research team have been tasked with assessing the sustainability of Noise Reducing Devices (NRDs). These devices are designed to control noise from surface transport (both road and rail) and include noise barriers and absorbative claddings.

For the purpose of this research sustainability was defines as: 'the optimal consideration of technical, environmental, economic and social factors during the design, construction, maintenance and repair, and removal/demolition stages of NRD projects.

The research is focused on designing a sustainability assessment framework with appropriate methods and tools that can effectively be utilised to assess the sustainability of noise reducing devices. The framework will present results in a clear and practical manner for all stakeholders interested in using it; including procurement agencies, manufacturers and consultants.

More information

For more information contact: M.C.A.Oltean-dumbrava@bradford.ac.uk 

More information