Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

MMD FinnCERES: Acoustics

Projects of the Multifunctional Materials Design research group funded by FinnCERES (sub-theme Acoustics)
Measurement of how sound waves bend towards the absorption material. Photo by Aalto University, Tapio Lokki
Photo: Aalto University / Tapio Lokki

FinnCERES is a competence centre, jointly formed by Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the area of materials bioeconomy. Its mission is to harness the natural properties of lignocellulose to create new sustainable materials.

FinnCERES programme is enabled by: Aalto University, VTT, Academy of Finland and its Flagship Programme.

FinnCERES website

Aalto webpage about FinnCERES

The Multifunctional Materials Design group is conducting research under the FinnCERES theme 'Electronics, Optics and Energy Applications'. We aim to approach the research challenges from different angles. Current research work is tightly linked to the SUBSTAINABLE project. 

Sub-theme 'Acoustics': Biowaste-derived carbon-negative materials for acoustics

The core idea of the project is to substitute current market standard insulator materials, rock and glass wool, with biowaste-based sound and thermal absorbents. As proof-of-concepts, we will develop silent air duct and silencer for air conditioning pipes that bind the carbon of biowaste to buildings for decades. The proposed research combines distinct expertise of Chemical and Acoustical Engineering and aims at paradigm shift in construction industry by demonstrating that biobased products can exceed the performance of state-of-the-art materials in multiple occasions in building materials. Industrial scalability and circular economy, with the prospect of providing urgently needed carbon-negative construction materials, are at the core of this multidisciplinary research.

MMD FinnCERES Acoustics, BCN-ACU project, proposal image

Research background

Construction industry uses a lot of materials for sound and thermal insulation. Current solutions are
glass wool, made from recycled glass, and rock wool, made of rock or sand. However, the production process includes high temperatures, thus requiring a lot of energy. Our core idea is to substitute current acoustic absorption materials with biowaste-based sound absorbents to bring a carbon-negative alternative to construction industry. Our preliminary research has shown that bio-based materials exceed the performance of the market leaders both in absolute terms and normalized by density. With a few example applications we will show the capabilities of bio-based materials to foster the large-scale transition to carbon-negative solutions in construction industry.

Business potential and societal impact

As motivated in the abstract our aim is to make a paradigm shift in the construction business. Many of the current thermal and sound insulation materials can be changed to bio-based products that are carbon-negative. Currently, most of the knowledge is there, but the manufactures need convincing examples of products to understand the urgently needed change for the future. Regarding societal impact, the development of novel materials, as proposed here, and implementation of circular economy approaches should allow overcoming the sustainability problems of current market standards, glass and rock wool, as well as polyurethane foams. Considering that our materials are inherently compatible with the requirements for construction materials for Carbon Neutral Europe policy, export potential of these type of novel carbon-negative products can easily reach the scale to hundreds of millions of euros.


Maximizing sound absorption, thermal insulation, and mechanical strength of anisotropic pectin cryogels

Fangxin Zou, Jose Cucharero, Yujiao Dong, Pinja Kangas, Ya Zhu, Janne Kaskirinne, Girish C. Tewari, Tuomas Hänninen, Tapio Lokki, Hailong Li*, Jaana Vapaavuori 2023 Chemical Engineering Journal

Acoustic Properties of Aerogels: Current Status and Prospects

Tatiana Budtova*, Tapio Lokki, Sadeq Malakooti, Ameya Rege, Hongbing Lu, Barbara Milow, Jaana Vapaavuori, Stephanie Vivod 2022 Advanced Engineering Materials

Waste Biomass Valorisation for the Development of Sustainable Cellulosic Aerogels and their Sound Absorption Properties

Isaac Benito-González, Jose Cucharero, Yazan Al Haj, Tuomas Hänninen, Tapio Lokki, Marta Martínez-Sanz, Amparo López-Rubio, Antonio Martínez-Abad, Jaana Vapaavuori* 2022 Advanced Sustainable Systems

Biowaste-derived electrode and electrolyte materials for flexible supercapacitors

Yazan Al Haj, Seyedabolfazl Mousavihashemi, Daria Robertson, Maryam Borghei, Timo Pääkkönen, Orlando J. Rojas, Eero Kontturi, Tanja Kallio, Jaana Vapaavuori* 2022 Chemical Engineering Journal

Contact information: 

Accountable project leader (MMD): Prof. Jaana Vapaavuori ([email protected])

Project researchers:
Marike Langhans ([email protected])

This project is a consortium project that is being implemented in collaboration with Aalto Acoustics Lab.

Virtual Acoustics research group (led by Prof. Tapio Lokki) 
Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics (School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University)

Lumir Oy participates in the project.

Related content:

Multifunctional Materials Design

Group led by Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

MMD webpage main image. GIF image by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen

Aalto Acoustics Lab

The Aalto Acoustics Lab is a multidisciplinary research center focusing on audio processing and spatial sound technologies. The laboratory gathers professors and research teams from three different units: Department of Information and Communications Engineering, Department of Computer Science, and Department of Art and Media.

Aalto University Acoustic Lab

Biowastes converted into a sustainable material for sound absorption

Researchers at Aalto University are developing a way to convert biowaste into a new, sustainable sound-absorbing material. One of the intended outcomes for the research project is to create alternatives to mineral wool construction materials that are commonly used for sound absorption and thermal insulation.

Photo: Jaana Vapaavuori / MMD group.

MMD FinnCERES: Energy

MMD projects funded by FinnCERES (theme Energy)

MMD FinnCERES projects main image. Photo by Aalto University / Mithila Mohan, Maija Vaara
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