With the global explosion in air travel, aircraft noise has become a major public issue. For over 40 years, scientists and engineers at the University of Southampton’s Institute of Sound Vibration Research (ISVR) have been working with the aircraft industry to reduce aircraft noise. As a leading international centre for aircraft noise research, the ISVR has played a significant role in reducing noise levels. Compared to aircraft in the 1960s, today’s jets produce less than one hundredth of the sound (20 -30dB quieter).
In 1999, Rolls-Royce founded a University Technology Centre (UTC) in Gas Turbine Noise to benefit from the ISVR’s capabilities. The Southampton centre now has over 30 staff and postgraduate researchers.
Andrew Kempton, Chief Noise Specialist at Rolls-Royce said: “The ISVR Research brings a breadth and depth of knowledge, an independence of thought and an aptitude for innovation that helps to ensure the best technology is built into Rolls-Royce engines.”
Demand for quieter aircraft
Global passenger and freight air traffic continues to grow and has resulted in increasingly tough noise reduction targets. Southampton UTC focuses on two key areas: reducing the amount of noise generated at source and trying to reduce the noise ‘effect’ before it reaches the ears of the public.
The technology behind noise reduction
Most aircraft engine noise comes from the fan blades or from the jet exhaust. ISVR work has contributed significantly to the understanding and reduction of these sources of noise, and to technology being built into the new quiet engines from Rolls-Royce like the Trent 900 (on the Airbus A380 ‘super jumbo’) and the Trent 1000 (on the ‘Dreamliner’ Boeing 787).
The ISVR will continue to play an important role in driving down aircraft engine noise still further.