Acoustic panels on the sides of a high-speed railway track, Source: Gobierno de Cantabria

Cantabria grants aid to research the reduction of noise from high-speed trains

Cantabria grants aid to research the reduction of noise from high-speed trains

This involves the creation of next-generation acoustic panels

At the start of this week, the regional government of Cantabria (in the north of Spain) subsidized an R&D&I project involving the creation of acoustic shields that can counteract the noise pollution coming from high-speed trains. The company behind the project, Panacor XXI, also plans to invest half a million euros for industrial research in noise reduction technology.

The Cantabrian enterprise already produces acoustic panels from a wide variety of materials, such as metal, methacrylate, concrete and wood, in addition to carrying out acoustic studies and noise maps in high-traffic and industrial areas.

High-speed railway services create demand for new solutions

High-speed trains networks are increasingly spreading out across Spain and Europe but together with reduced travel times, they bring a new set of issues – one of them being noise pollution. Although the noise generated by trains is only temporary, at times when they pass through an area, it can nevertheless be disturbing.

The Panacor XXI project consists of the design, the 3D aerodynamic simulation and subsequent testing of acoustic screens of various types and materials. These screens are placed along the railway tracks as a way to isolate the latter from the surrounding environment.

The shields are subjected to the aerodynamic forces caused by the passage of high-speed trains (which creates both pressure and suction forces) in order to compare their acoustic efficiency and verify their adequate mechanical behaviour.

The Cantabrian Minister of Industry highlighted that it is an ambitious and complex project whose main innovation lies in the design and real-scale testing of an acoustic screen complete with all the components of the system that can withstand not only the aerodynamic forces of the trains but also the external wind forces and the combinations between the two.

Currently, the existing systems on the market for high-speed lines in Europe are limited only to fatigue testing the system components, but not the whole behaviour of the shields.



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