Nissan is showing a new material at this year’s CES trade show that it says can help make car cabins quieter while also boosting energy efficiency.

The new lightweight sound insulation material is known as ‘acoustic meta-material’ and is formed from a combination of a lattice structure and plastic film that controls air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise (500-1200 hertz) – such as road and engine noise.

Nissan says most materials used to isolate this frequency band currently consist mainly of heavy rubber board. Nissan claims its new acoustic meta-material weighs one-quarter as much as these while providing the same degree of sound isolation.

The company also says that because of its simple structure, the material’s cost competitiveness in terms of mass production is almost the same as, or possibly better than, current materials. Therefore, Nissan says, the material can also be applied to vehicles where the use of sound insulation materials is currently limited due to cost or weight.

Nissan started its research on meta-material technology around 2008. At the time, meta-material was used in high-sensitivity antennas used for electromagnetic wave research. Nissan worked to extend the applicability of meta-material technology to include sound waves, leading to the successful invention of acoustic meta-material.

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