Researchers have developed a semianalytical meshless method to optimize sound barriers for more efficient traffic noise pollution reduction, providing significant improvements in urban noise management.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Health Impact of Traffic Noise: Long-term exposure to high traffic noise levels can cause serious health issues, including hearing loss, insomnia, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Innovative Optimization Method: The semianalytical meshless method developed by researchers optimizes the design and material distribution of sound barriers, providing a more efficient and cost-effective solution compared to traditional methods..
  3. Broad Applications: The study’s findings have significant implications for urban planning and public health, with potential applications in various noisy environments, such as industrial zones and construction sites, due to the method’s adaptability.

Traffic noise pollution is a major environmental issue, worsened by the increasing number of vehicles. In addition to effects on hearing, long-term exposure to high noise levels can cause health problems like insomnia, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. Traditional methods for evaluating and optimizing sound barriers are often costly and time-consuming, but advances in computational techniques have introduced more efficient simulation-based approaches. To improve health, it is essential to conduct in-depth research to improve the design and effectiveness of sound barriers in reducing traffic noise, and thus traffic noise pollution.

Semianalytical Meshless Method

Researchers from Qingdao University and the University of Siegen in China have published a study in the International Journal of Mechanical System Dynamics in 2023, introducing a semianalytical meshless method to optimize sound barriers. This innovative approach refines acoustic performance by analyzing barrier shapes and sound-absorbing material distribution, offering a more efficient solution to urban noise pollution.

Further Reading: Research Suggests a Correlation Between Traffic-Related Noise and Risk of Tinnitus

The research introduces a semianalytical meshless method to evaluate and optimize the performance of sound barriers. By analyzing various shapes, such as vertical, Half-Y, and T-shaped barriers, the study assesses their acoustic performance using the Burton–Miller-type singular boundary method (BM-SBM). This method simplifies the acoustical impedance boundary condition and employs the method of moving asymptotes (MMA) for optimizing material distribution. Numerical examples demonstrate that the T-shaped sound barrier outperforms others in noise reduction, particularly when combined with optimally distributed sound-absorbing materials. 

Optimization Process

The optimization process involves a solid isotropic material with penalization (SIMP) technique, ensuring efficient material usage. Results indicate that the optimized distribution of sound-absorbing materials significantly enhances noise attenuation compared to full coverage. The study also validates the accuracy of BM-SBM by comparing it with the finite element method (FEM), showing excellent agreement in results.

“Our computational optimization of sound barriers is a major step forward in mitigating noise pollution,” says Prof. Fajie Wang from Qingdao University, a leading expert in computational mechanics. “It allows for more effective noise control with minimal material, with broad applications in industries where noise management is essential.”

Broad Implications

The findings from this study have broad implications for urban planning and public health. By optimizing the design and material distribution of sound barriers, cities can more effectively manage traffic noise and prevent traffic noise pollution, improving the quality of life for residents. 

This research also offers potential applications in other noisy environments, such as industrial zones and construction sites. Furthermore, the semianalytical meshless method provides a scalable solution that can be adapted to different scenarios, paving the way for innovative noise control strategies in various sectors.

Featured image: Optimal distributions of sound-absorbing materials on the surface of the sound barriers in a frequency range (200-500 Hz). Image: International Journal of Mechanical System Dynamics