Development of thin panels for active control of acoustic reflection, absorption and transmission

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This paper explores the development of thin panels that can be controlled electronically so as to provide surfaces with desired reflection coefficients. Such panels can be used as either perfect reflectors or absorbers. They can also be designed to be transmission blockers that block the propagation of sound. The development of the control system is based on the use of wave separation algorithms that separate incident sound from reflected sound. The reflected sound is then controlled to desired levels. The incident sound is used as an acoustic reference for feedforward control and has the important property of being isolated from the action of the control system speaker. The use of this incident signal reference also plays a key role in the use of the panels as transmission blockers where the acoustic pressure behind the panel is driven to zero. The panels themselves are constructed using poster-board and small rare-earth actuators. Detailed experimental results are presented showing the efficacy of the algorithms in achieving real-time control of reflection or transmission. The panels are able to effectively block transmission of broadband sound. Practical applications for these panels include enclosures for noisy machinery, noise absorbing wallpaper, the development of sound walls and the development of noise-blocking glass windows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-914
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the American Control Conference
StatePublished - 2002
Event2002 American Control Conference - Anchorage, AK, United States
Duration: May 8 2002May 10 2002


  • Absorption
  • Active noise control
  • Feedforward control
  • Flat panel speaker
  • Incident wave
  • Reflected wave
  • Reflection
  • Transmission


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