Our obsession with tech with tech has made many of our households very noisy. Cars and airplanes meanwhile have also contributed to noise pollution. In a bid to make our lives more peaceful, engineers around the world have been coming up with ways to make silent solutions to usually noisy appliances and machinery. Here are just a few examples of such innovations.
The hums and rattles and gurgles of many of our home fridges can be irritating. However, companies such as Caldura have been coming up with a silent solution. These quiet fridges are absorption powered making them different to compressor fridges in that they do not require a motor and instead rely off energy from heating. Many hotels with a mini-bar will consider such fridges as a way of keeping the room more quiet.
Silent washing machines
Washing machines are among one of the loudest appliances in our homes, with some operating at eighty decibels, which is more than a hoover or ringing telephone. However, quieter washing machine models as produced by the likes of Whirpool can sometimes operate at just over forty decibels, which is the same as a quiet library. These are ideal if you need to put a load of laundry on at night but don’t want to wake the rest of the house up. There are further ways to soundproof your washing machine such as not putting it on an uneven surface and tightening shipping bolts.
PCs – particularly high-performance models as used for gaming – can also be very loud due to the amount of fans needed to cool them. Fortunately, there are now quiet desktop models out there as sold by companies such as AVADirect. These computers use low-noise components and sound-proofing to prevent the usual whirring of fans and clicking of the hard-drive that regular machines suffer from.
Cars are also progressively becoming quieter. The once 82 decibel legal limit has been reduced to 74 decibels. Some modern cars however such as the BMW 730d Blue Performance reach as low as 58 decibels at 100 km/h – the equivalent of the sound of normal conversation. And of course electric cars are much quieter than their petrol counterparts, cutting out the engine noise at low speeds (although at high speeds they still produce the same tyre and wind noise as petrol cars).
Silent jet planes
No, silent jet planes aren’t a reality… yet. The Silent Aircraft Initiative believes they will be however by 2030. The group of engineers are looking at ways of making airplanes run on lower thrust levels, which could also reduce air pollution as well as noise pollution. Currently a jet plane taking off reaches a staggering 150 decibels, which is the very limit our eardrums can withstand before rupturing. Anything over 85 decibels is thought to damage our ears when exposed to long periods of time, contributing to gradual hearing loss. Could jet planes ever operate at below this level?