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Research project

Intelligent Structures for Low Noise Environments

Project overview

The Intelligent Structures for Low Noise Environments is a ground-breaking proseprity partnership funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that brings the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research from the University of Southampton together with BAE Systems, the Centre for Additive Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham and Lloyd’s Register to create new materials and intelligent structures that will control underwater noise, reducing its harmful impact on marine wildlife.

Increasing international trade is leading to an explosion in the amount of shipping worldwide, which in turn is increasing the levels of noise pollution in our oceans. This is exacerbated by the large scale of the vessels used with low frequency acoustic radiation from vibrating structures propagating over long distances. The elevated noise and its detrimental impact on sea-life is a significant environmental concern. The power needed to propel such large container vessels is also leading to significant internal habitability issues with associated health and safety concerns. More generally, dwindling natural fuel reserves together with concern over greenhouse gas emissions is leading to a proliferation of offshore and land-based renewable energy generating installations. Such projects are all contributing to increasing noise pollution that in many cases radiates as infrasound (i.e. at frequencies below the threshold of human hearing) that causes unique physiological effects and discomfort in humans. In the automotive sector, similar environmental pressures are leading to lighter material construction and the increasing use of electric power. These trends lead to similar challenges for sound control and in the case of electric vehicles, this involves consideration of the unique psychological effects that cause annoyance that are not present or masked in vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

The primary vision of this project is to address the low frequency noise mitigation requirement with an ambitious programme of research aimed at the development of a range of energy efficient novel intelligent structures through the holistic combination of tools and techniques from the key distinct disciplines of active and semi-active control, fluid structure interaction, acoustic modelling, signal processing and numerical optimisation and additive layer manufacture. An Intelligent Structure is defined here as a structure that integrates structural elements that encompass novel sensors, actuation including morphing materials, energy scavenging and energy storage, printed electronics, data storage, computing and communications; not only as discrete embedded devices but also printed using advanced additive manufacturing techniques. In combination the components deliver behaviour and performance that satisfy multiple objectives that could include energy efficiency, fault tolerance, low noise, low vibration and light weight.


Lead researcher

Professor Stephen Daley

Chair in Industrial Active Control
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Other researchers

Professor Stephen Turnock

Head of School

Research interests

  • His fluid dynamics expertise lies in the synthesis of analytical, experimental and computational methods for a diverse range of applications. Examples of such work are in the development of a patented integrated tidal energy generator (winner of The Engineers’ Energy Sector Innovation award 2008), supervision of the students who designed Amy Williams’ Gold medal winning bob skeleton sled (winner of The Engineer’s Sport Technology Innovation award in 2010) and with continued support for Gold medal success in 2014 and 2018, academic supervisor for the Delphin Autonomous underwater vehicle (winner of the SAUC-E competition in 2007).
  • He has acted as a consultant to diverse organisations including NOC, Speedo, Shell Shipping, BAEsystems, Rolls Royce, dstl, QinetiQ, and WS Atkins.
  • Expertise: Future Fuels for Shipping; Maritime Robotics and Autonomy; Rudder, hydrofoil, and control surface design; Unsteady race simulation for kayak, rowing and sailing; Hull-propeller-rudder interaction; Ship added resistance and manoeuvring in waves; Underwater noise prediction using CFD; Experimental techniques for use of wave/tow tank testing; Tidal turbines, wave energy and offshore wind turbine design; Wind turbine array power prediction; Hydrogen fuel cells for hybrid ship propulsion; Hydrodynamics of swimming assessment by pool based test techniques and using CFD.
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Professor Suleiman Sharkh BEng, PhD, CEng, MIET

Prof of Electrical Machines and Drives

Research interests

  • Electric Machines
  • Power Electronics
  • Microgrids
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Professor Jordan Cheer BMus (Tonmeister), MSc, PhD, CEng, MIMechE, FHEA


Research interests

  • Active Noise Control
  • Active Vibration Control
  • Smart Structures for Noise and Vibration Control
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Mr Ilias Zazas

Principal Enterprise Fellow

Research interests

  • Active Control of Noise and VibrationSignal Processing for Active ControlSmart Materials and FluidsHarmonic Control AlgorithmsAdaptive Filtering
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Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups