Technology

A window that shuts out noise – when open

Patrick Lahbib

By , Director of Innovation, Hydro Building Systems

A window that shuts out noise – when open

Technal's acoustic window is just as attractive as any other window. You see no gadgets or bulky add-ons.

Cities are filling up and getting noisier. Now you can buy an aluminium window that, when open, can block out the noise and still give you a breath of fresh air

Soundproofing is a challenge for architects who erect or renovate buildings. This is why Hydro’s aluminium building systems brand Technal has been working on the acoustic topic since 2013.

With much of the industry focusing on thermal management – an important topic for sure – Technal’s engineering team added acoustics to its project agenda. They put together a small team of researchers and software technicians to focus on optimizing the acoustic properties of aluminium-framed doors, windows and facades.

Five year later, in collaboration with France-based Gamba Acoustique and the CNRS Mechanics and Acoustics Lab in Marseille, this work has resulted in an innovative window that lets air in but leaves noise outside.

Combination of technologies

The acoustic window is effective with a maximum opening of 10 centimeters, or about four inches. This is sufficient for good ventilation and it is in accordance with the anti-defenestration rules in public buildings.

The patented solution is based on a combination of active and passive technologies. The two are used in concert because one alone is not enough to manage the full range of frequencies.

Passive technology against loud and medium-range frequencies

Passive technology is effective against loud and medium-range frequency waves, while the active noise-canceling technology combats low-frequency noise.

The passive technology works like this: You build an aeraulic silencer by adding two walls on each side of the opening slot with acoustic absorbing material, in the thickness of the wall. This creates a type of tunnel. When the medium and high-range frequency waves pass through this tunnel, they are absorbed and reduced before entering the room.

Active technology against low-frequency noise

The active noise-canceling technology that is integrated within the window combats low-frequency noise in the same way as high-quality headsets.

In the acoustic window, microphones register incoming noise. A digital sound processor then analyzes the noise and generates a counter-noise, which is emitted by speakers positioned on the window’s aluminium frame. This cancels much of the low-frequency noise coming from outside.

Working together, the technologies manage to reduce the sound level by 300 times, to about 25 decibels – what you would experience in a library. Pretty quiet.

Learn more on www.technal.com

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