Acoustic design by topology optimization

Maria Bayard Dühring, Jakob Søndergaard Jensen, Ole Sigmund

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    To bring down noise levels in human surroundings is an important issue and a method to reduce noise by means of topology optimization is presented here. The acoustic field is modeled by Helmholtz equation and the topology optimization method is based on continuous material interpolation functions in the density and bulk modulus. The objective function is the squared sound pressure amplitude. First, room acoustic problems are considered and it is shown that the sound level can be reduced in a certain part of the room by an optimized distribution of reflecting material in a design domain along the ceiling or by distribution of absorbing and reflecting material along the walls. We obtain well defined optimized designs for a single frequency or a frequency interval for both 2D and 3D problems when considering low frequencies. Second, it is shown that the method can be applied to the design of outdoor sound barriers and reduce the sound level in the shadow zone behind the barrier up to 10 dB for a single barrier and almost 30 dB when using 2 barriers compared to utilizing conventional sound barriers.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
    Issue number3-5
    Pages (from-to)557-575
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • topology optimization
    • sound barriers
    • room acoustics
    • Helmholtz equation
    • noise reduction


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