Invention promises quieter times ahead

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 September, 2000, 12:00am

Scientists have invented an ultra-thin sound-proofing material only one-tenth as thick as conventional alternatives.

The material, developed by researchers at the department of physics at the University of Science and Technology, could be used to shield buildings from earthquake vibrations, scientists believe.

The material is made up of a series of small, structured spheres consisting of a solid core of lead of relatively high density with a coating of silicone rubber.

So far, researchers have refined the material into a thin concrete plate at a cost of about $135 a square metre. According to Professor Sheng Ping, the new material is far more effective in eliminating noise as low as 150Hz in frequency than conventional material such as metal or concrete in sound-proofing.

Professor Sheng believes the new material might even be applied in reflecting vibrations from earthquakes, as well as ultrasound.

The department is co-operating with the university's civil engineering department to turn the invention into material for building construction and noise shields for roads. It is seeking to register the invention in the United States.