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Come and visit one of the quietest places on Earth

Oct 31, 2018

Trevor Cox in the anechoic chamber for Manchester Science Festival
The anechoic chamber in the Newton building

If you’re looking for a quiet place to escape for a few minutes during the day, we’re got the perfect place for you.

In contention for the title of ‘quietest place on Earth', the world-class anechoic chamber (meaning free from echo) is actually a room within a room in the Newton building.

The walls, floor and ceiling of the inner chamber are made of heavy Accrington brick and concrete to prevent sound getting into the room. Two heavy acoustic doors with rubber seals are used to minimise airborne sound.

The chamber is lined from floor to ceiling with soft foam wedges which absorb any vibrations in the air and remove any sound reflections, or echoes - including the floor. To stop people walking on it there’s a wire trampoline stretched between the walls with an acoustically transparent catch net below. 

The whole inner chamber is also mounted on neoprene rubber mounts to reduce vibration. Even the bridge leading into the chamber is attached to the outer but not to the inner wall, to stop vibrations entering the room.

The soundless room is the ideal place for testing equipment like speakers, microphones and ear defenders, because the room doesn’t affect the measurements.

We’ve also got a reverberation chamber on campus, which is considered the opposite of an anechoic chamber because it reflects, rather than absorbs, sound energy. Knowing the absorption of architectural materials is vital when designing a room with good acoustics.

Elle Kalavsky, Laboratory Assistant in Acoustic Testing Labs, said: “The rooms have lots of commercial benefits and we work with businesses to test out a variety of products. I started working here after I finished studying last year and I still find the work we do fascinating; if anyone is interested in finding out more I’d be happy to show you round!”

Would you like to experience the real sound of silence for yourself? We’re organising visits of the Acoustic Laboratories and Anechoic Chamber from 20 - 24 November between 9.30am and 4.30pm as part of our celebration of 60 years of acoustics research at Salford. You can book your place online here, or if you’d like more information contact:

•               Elle Kalavsky, Laboratory Assistant: e.kalavsky3@salford.ac.uk; 0161 295 4042

•               Danny Wong-McSweeney, Laboratory Manger: d.b.c.wong-mcsweeney@salford.ac.uk; 0161 295 2807