Las Vegas — Nissan Motor Co. is combining plastic film and a lattice structure on a new lightweight, soundproofing material which it said can help make car cabins quieter while improving energy efficiency, unveiled at the CES trade show Jan. 6.
The Toyota-based automaker did not specify what materials it uses in the lattice and film, but said they work together to control air vibrations that limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise (500 to 1,200 hertz), such as road and engine noise. Nissan showed its "acoustic meta-material" used in flooring, but said it can be placed elsewhere.
Most soundproofing materials now used to dampen road and engine noise consist mainly of heavy rubber board. But Nissan said its acoustic material weighs one-fourth as much while providing the same degree of sound isolation, the company said in a statement.
Nissan said its material is cost competitive and in some cases is less expensive than conventional soundproofing materials on the market. That allows it to be incorporated into vehicles where the use of sound insulation materials is limited because of cost or weight.
Nissan has been developing the technology since 2008. At the time, the material was used in high-sensitivity antennas used for electromagnetic wave research.
Sound control increases in importance for electric vehicles, such as Nissan's Leaf, because there is no engine sound, which means that sound from the roadway appears far louder.