Circular Panels – Biofoam acoustics

The circular panels are biobased, lightweight wall panels with tailored surface patterns that maximize noise control and provide aesthetic value as a decorative element. The project operates on circular economy principles by exploiting locally available forest resource side streams to design an unprecedented foam material that can be shaped to meet the customer's needs.
Ready made product of a circular panel
Photo: Anne Kinnunen / Aalto University
Close up of the circular panel material
Photo: Anne Kinnunen / Aalto University

Currently, noise management technologies rely on petroleum-derived or ceramic materials with environmental drawbacks due to their poor recyclability or capacity to reincorporate into the biosphere's cycles after disposal. We have built a multidisciplinary research team with physicists, chemists, designers and business expertise to carry out a project tackling the need for sustainable indoor acoustic management technologies.

With our commercial partners (Ikea, Martela, Metsä, Vallila, Woodio), we intend to bring acoustic wellbeing and create cozy atmospheres in different spaces, from public to private rooms. 

This research project is developed by the Complex Systems and Materials research group at Aalto University. The project is also a collaboration with the Aalto Innovation Service Team and our commercial partners who are leaders in their field. The project (CirPa) is part of the Research to Business program funded by Business Finland. 

Square piece of a circular panel material
Photo: Anne Kinnunen / Aalto University

Working group

  • Professor Mikko Alava (Principal Investigator), Dr Tero Mäkinen (PhD in physics), Isaac Miranda Valdez (MSc in chemistry), Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University. 
  • Riia Ranta (Commercialization expert & serial entrepreneur, BSc Political Science, MSc School of Business) Aalto University). 
  • Michael Buchta (MBA), Lassi Kauhanen (Design student), Ville Kokkonen (Senior Designer), School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University. 
  • Panu Kuosmanen (Innovation Advisor), Aalto Innovation Service Team. 
  • Pasi Karppinen (Start-up specialist, Protorhino Oy) 


Complex Systems and Materials (CSM)

Applies statistical physics to a wide variety of cross-disciplinary topics.

Department of Applied Physics
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