Building Acoustics

The chair Building Acoustics is the acoustics research group of the unit Building Physics and Services (BPS). The chair focuses on research in the field of Acoustics of the Built Environment. The identity of the group can be characterized by:

  • The cooperation with complementary research fields;
  • The cooperation with end user groups;
  • The synergy of frontier research, education and consultancy.

The latter is established through the close collaboration with Level Acoustics and Vibration.

Sounds in the built environment are created by natural and human sources of sound, and they are all around us. Sounds can be pleasant and informative but they can also be a serious threat to our health. Research as conducted by the Chair Building Acoustics revolves around the continuous development of computational and experimental acoustic methods. These methods quantify the influence of the built environment on the propagation of sound from the sources to our ears.
The aim of these developments is twofold:

 It supports fundamental research on the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the production, propagation and perception of sound in the built environment.
  • It offers researchers and designers tools to integrate and optimize acoustics for a sustainable (re)design of the built environment and technical innovations therein. 

Herewith, we strive to contribute to the reduction of adverse health effects caused by human induced noise, and to promote positively perceived sound environments. Our strong ties with the academic and business community results in high-grade research opportunities. The research connects to the TU/e strategic areas health and smart mobility.

Research Area: Urban Acoustics

Computational methods
A pronounced specialism of the Chair Building Acoustics is the development of time-efficient wave-based methods for propagation of sound through the built environment thereby accurately including all wave effects. As wave-based methods remain low frequency approaches, the approach of hybrid computational techniques - with approximate methods for the higher frequencies - is explored. The methods aim to predict quantitative results as well as offer auralization techniques.

Propagation effects in urban environments
The urban sound environment is influenced by multiple aspects in the propagation path: ground reflections, reflections and diffraction by the urban topology as well as meteorological effects. The influence of urban vegetation on improving the urban sound environment, as well as the study to meteorological effects on urban sound propagation are topics of research.

Human echolocation
Blind people can train their skills to navigate and orientate indoor as well as outdoors by using their auditory perception of self-generated sounds as the tongue click, and its acoustical response from the physical environment, a technique also known as human echolocation. We aim to investigate the relation between information hidden in the acoustic signals and the ability of the blind to successfully echolocate.

Research Area: Room and Building Acoustics

Experimental methods 

Advanced acoustic measurement techniques are developed in our  Echo building (Acoustic laboratory) that aim to improve the reliability and accuracy of measurement results. Important applications are the measurement of room acoustic parameters in accordance with ISO 3382 of working environments and performance spaces; and the measurement of (very high) sound insulation using impulse responses. Also, scale model measurement techniques are developed.

Computational methods
Computational methods are developed for indoor environments that in particular aim to include all wave effects (through wave-based modelling methods) and allow for auralization.

Healthy environments 

As we spend 90% of our time indoors, health effects related to acoustics are of high importance. In our research, particular interest is dedicated to sensitive environments as health care institutes and open learning environments.

Concert hall and theatre acoustics
Performance spaces like concert halls and theatres are acoustically challenging spaces. Research aims for the development of new tools and methods to objectively evaluate halls. In particular, the acoustics on stage and the noise exposure of orchestral musicians is investigated.

Lightweight structures
A challenge in the field of building acoustics is to construct lightweight buildings that at the same time meet high sound insulation demands. Research is carried out to achieve high sound insulation with lightweight floor structures.

Current research projects

  • Acoutect: a sound fundament of our future buildings, EU H2020 ITN (2017-2020)
  • Tools to tackle environmental health problems, NWO STW open call (2016-2021)
  • Numerical modelling of transient sound propagation in buildings, LPDP, Indonesia (2015-2019)
  • Impact noise insulation of lightweight floor systems at low frequencies, Chinese Scholarship Council (2015-2019)
  • Acoustics of open-plan work environments, Avans University of Applied Sciences (2014-2018)
  • Benefits of urban vegetation, Chinese Scholarship Council (2014-2018)
  • Stage Acoustics, Click Built Environment (2013-2017)

Recent research projects

  • SONORUS: the urban sound planner, EU FP7 ITN (2012-2016)
  • openPSTD, EU FP7 Marie Curie CIG (2012-2016)
  • Human echolocation, ZonMW Inzicht (2013-2015)