David Thompson is an internationally recognised expert in the area of railway noise and vibration who has devoted his career to making trains quieter.
His research is dominated by the noise and vibration of railways, particularly the reduction of rolling noise, aerodynamic noise and ground vibration. In his work he aims to develop appropriate theoretical models to achieve this. He has worked in many EU-funded collaborative projects and acts as a consultant to many companies in the rail industry."To reduce noise effectively you first have to understand it. This is the reason we do modelling and experiments, in order to increase our understanding and hence to be better able to control noise."
- Low noise design in railways
- Ground vibration and ground-borne noise
- Aerodynamic noise from high-speed trains
- Wheel/rail rolling noise, curve squeal and impact noise
- Noise inside railway vehicles
David Thompson aims to develop theoretical models to understand and solve engineering problems. These are used, in particular, to reduce the noise and vibration from railways. His research covers all the main sources of noise and vibration in the railway system: rolling noise generated by the wheel and track induced by the roughness of the running surfaces; damping treatments applied to rails and wheels; the growth of the surface roughness including corrugation; curve squeal occurring in sharp curves; impact noise at discontinuities; vibration transmitted through the ground and radiated as noise inside buildings; aerodynamic noise from high-speed trains, including the pantograph and bogie regions; noise from steel and concrete railway bridges; noise transmission into vehicle interiors through airborne and structure-borne paths. In each case engineering models are used to predict the noise and allow low noise designs to be developed.
David teaches on Undergraduate and Masters courses in Noise Control Engineering, Architectural & Building Acoustics and Railway Engineering & Operations. Specialist courses on railway noise and vibration can also be provided.
David graduated in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1980. He worked for British Rail Research for nearly 10 years, mainly in the acoustics team. During this time, he obtained his PhD at the ISVR in the area of wheel/rail noise modelling.
He then spent over six years at TNO in the Netherlands where he developed the TWINS model for railway rolling noise, which is still used throughout the industry.
In 1996 he returned to the UK on taking up an appointment as Lecturer at the ISVR, becoming Professor in 2004. He has written over 200 journal papers in the field and his book on ‘Railway Noise and Vibration: Mechanisms, Modelling and Means of Control’ was published by Elsevier in 2008 and has since been translated into Chinese.
In 2015 he was won the Faculty Supervisor of the Year and in 2018 he was awarded the Rayleigh Medal by the Institute of Acoustics for outstanding contributions to acoustics.
- Rayleigh Medal of the Institute of Acoustics (2018)