Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


Date of this Version



Blevins, Matthew G. (2016) Design and Optimization of Membrane-Type Acoustic Metamaterials (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Architectural Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Lily M. Wang. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Matthew Grant Blevins


One of the most common problems in noise control is the attenuation of low frequency noise. Typical solutions require barriers with high density and/or thickness. Membrane-type acoustic metamaterials are a novel type of engineered material capable of high low-frequency transmission loss despite their small thickness and light weight. These materials are ideally suited to applications with strict size and weight limitations such as aircraft, automobiles, and buildings. The transmission loss profile can be manipulated by changing the micro-level substructure, stacking multiple unit cells, or by creating multi-celled arrays. To date, analysis has focused primarily on experimental studies in plane-wave tubes and numerical modeling using finite element methods. These methods are inefficient when used for applications that require iterative changes to the structure of the material. To facilitate design and optimization of membrane-type acoustic metamaterials, computationally efficient dynamic models based on the impedance-mobility approach are proposed. Models of a single unit cell in a waveguide and in a baffle, a double layer of unit cells in a waveguide, and an array of unit cells in a baffle are studied. The accuracy of the models and the validity of assumptions used are verified using a finite element method. The remarkable computational efficiency of the impedance-mobility models compared to finite element methods enables implementation in design tools based on a graphical user interface and in optimization schemes. Genetic algorithms are used to optimize the unit cell design for a variety of noise reduction goals, including maximizing transmission loss for broadband, narrow-band, and tonal noise sources. The tools for design and optimization created in this work will enable rapid implementation of membrane-type acoustic metamaterials to solve real-world noise control problems.

Advisor: Lily M. Wang