NIA’s labs are directed by Christopher R. Fuller, who is Virginia Tech's Samuel Langley Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Fuller is an expert in acoustics and noise and vibration control and is noted for his distinguished work on control of interior noise and vibration in aerospace applications, launch vehicle payload noise, and other related concerns in the automotive and marine industries.
“I am very pleased that a world-renowned company such as Brüel & Kjær has agreed to sponsor our laboratory” remarked Fuller. “The sponsorship and interaction with Brüel & Kjær will undoubtedly lead to a significant increase in the quality and reputation of the work and education performed in our laboratory.”
The laboratory will support education in acoustics and vibration, and enable advanced research into analysing, understanding, and developing innovative solutions for noise and vibration problems in aircraft, rotorcraft, and spacecraft.
Research into the area of active noise control for the reduction of aircraft exterior noise will be carried out in the new facility. Fuller noted, “One of NASA's important goals is the development of environmentally friendly aircraft, and noise is a key aspect of this programme. The work in this new lab will support NASA and the commercial aviation industry in developing quieter engines, and less airframe and interior noise in aircraft and rotorcraft.”
Multi-functional and advanced acoustic materials that reduce vibration and harvest energy will also be studied, as vibration control is an important consideration in designing efficient aircraft and space structures. Research conducted in the lab will help enable applications of acoustics to medicine as well.
Future directions in acoustics and vibration research to be considered in the laboratory include the investigation of meta-acoustic materials, which combine advances in nano-and material technologies to create lightweight, sound-absorbing materials with increased performance. The combination of microbiology and materials may lead to genetically grown materials which have improved vibration and noise reduction qualities.
Addressing the crowd at the launch, Bill Wright, Brüel & Kjær’s Application Engineer for the mid-Atlantic region said, “Brüel & Kjær is pleased to be helping with this partnership to ensure that NIA students can benefit from Brüel & Kjær’s core sound and vibration knowledge, and our many dedicated solutions for aerospace, defence, electro-acoustics and medical markets.”