An international team of researchers with the support of Queen Mary University of London and the Italian Space Agency has found that spider webs can be used to reduce noise pollution.
Since low-frequency sounds are characterized by their wavelength, thick walls are required to protect them from them, which significantly burdens engineering structures. An alternative approach is to use new metamaterials.
Whereas traditional sound insulation is based on material thickness, metamaterials resist sound with their complex subwavelength structure. As a result, a thin partition can be as effective as a massive wall.
In the new study, the scientists relied on a concept they developed called the "maze of metamaterials." The essence of the idea is that the materials consist of layers of folded zigzag channels located relative to each other, like in a labyrinth.
The authors of the study showed that this geometry effectively reduces the force of elastic waves. Scientists have optimized the structure of the maze by giving the channels a square section. The result is a cobweb-like structure, the air cavities of which can even be used to change the width of the network channels.
According to scientists, "spider labyrinths" can be made of aluminum, which will allow the use of these structures in a variety of areas. One of the priority areas is protection against destructive noise pollution, which is a serious problem in modern megacities.