The Michigan Engineer News Center

Origami Traffic Sound Barrier

A photograph of a researcher working in lab.

Manoj Thota, a graduate student research assistant in mechanical engineering, makes adjustments to a prototype of an origami traffic sound barrier in an anechoic chamber in the G.G. Brown building on the University of Michigan's North Campus on November 7, 2017. The barrier combines a set of cylindrical rods with an origami base. The origami base allows the rods to be easily reconfigured in different patterns, which are designed to block different noise frequencies. This technology could be applied alongside busy highways to block different noise frequencies depending on how traffic is moving. The barriers are also wind-permeable, lighter, and better at dissipating specific frequencies than current barriers. The research was conducted in the Structural Dynamics and Controls Laboratory under the direction of Kon-Well Wang, the Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor and Tim Manganello / BorgWarner Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering. Thota helped lead the research. Photo: Levi Hutmacher/Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing