Probably not but that is exactly the solution that Andrew Barnard (ME-EM) will present at the finals of the ninth Annual Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC) taking place at the SAE World Congress in the Cobo Center, Detroit on April 4, 2017.
Barnard successfully competed in the semi-final round last week. His technology, coaxial active exhaust noise control system, is based on using a thin film of carbon nanotubes as a thermophone, a loudspeaker that makes sound using surface temperature variation instead of a moving diaphragm. What that means is no moving parts, which results in higher reliability. “Carbon nanotubes make this possible because they can oscillate their surface temperature almost instantaneously to produce canceling sound waves,” he explains.
Barnard was encouraged to participate in GAMIC through his involvement in Michigan Tech’s Michigan Translational Research & Commercialization (MTRAC) program for Applied Advanced Materials.
MTRAC is sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Strategic Fund to help University faculty fast-track their technology to a commercial stage.
MTRAC Commercialization Program Director John Diebel says “Andrew’s technology seemed like an excellent fit within the scope of transportation technologies GAMIC wanted to showcase and support. There is a lot of potential recognition and follow-on support to be gained by the exposure he can get presenting at the SAE Congress so he was game to compete.”
Diebel noted “Preparation alone for such an event can be very helpful as it forces an inventor to think a little deeper about the customer perspective on the technology and how to communicate the benefits. These competitions better prepare our faculty for success in obtaining development funding.”
GAMIC organizers link each semi-finalist with mentors who help them prepare for the competition. These mentors have wide contacts in the automotive industry who can provide general networking support besides just helping to refine an inventor’s message.
Barnard was coached by Diebel, Steve Tokarz, Michigan Tech mentor-in-residence, Christophe Gaillard, principal engineer at Tier 1 automotive supplier Aisin, and Michael Brooks, a consultant in business development for material based technologies.
Besides a cash award and in-kind business development services, winners of the final competition in four categories will present to automotive manufacturers and suppliers at the SAE TechHub on April 6, in Detroit.
Barnard, an assistant professor, came to Michigan Tech from Penn State University in 2014 where he was a research associate in the Applied Research Laboratory. Barnard earned a bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech and a PhD in Acoustics from Penn State. He is a member of the Acoustical Society of America and a board-certified member and Director of the Institute for Noise Control Engineering USA (INCE-USA). His research areas include Advanced Measurements and Signal Processing, Carbon Nanotube Thermophones, Acoustic Intensity and Vector Sensors, Room Acoustics, Acoustic Material Characterization, Outdoor Sound Propagation, Underwater Acoustics, and more.
More information on GAMIC can be found online.
First generation prototype of the carbon nanotube coaxial active exhaust noise control loudspeaker. The exhaust gas flows through the pipe, as usual, and the CNT fibers (black cylinder) wrap around the pipe and generate destructive acoustic interference to cancel noise from the engine.