Hat Trick

2018. Research placement with student peer Minal Choudhary under supervision of Dr Lorenzo Picinali.

Creative design of acoustic treatment for indoor spaces.

Acoustics  •  Research  •  Analysis  •  Modelling  •  Prototyping  •  Testing  •  Liaising with Contractors  •  Adobe Illustrator

During the summer of 2018 I received funding from my department, the Dyson School of Design Engineering, to treat the acoustics of the Dyson Building — our new home —  under the supervision of Dr Lorenzo Picinali. Thanks to the project’s success, we were awarded 25% additional funding.

The project involved researching and learning about acoustics and specifically the science and treatment of reverberation. Along with peer Minal Choudhary, I then analysed and modelled spaces within the Dyson Building to specify appropriate treatment. 

For most spaces, we used sound absorbing panels. I modified the architect’s drawings for the building to make plans for the positioning of these panels. We then liaised with contractors to ensure the successful installation of panels around the building.

In one meeting room, we took a more creative approach, using an existing supply of hats and sound diffusing foam in the department to make Hat Trick, an installation piece that reduces the reverberation of the room.

Process

Research, Analysis & Modelling

Use of Sabine equation to find RT60 (time for reverberation to decay 60 dB) and calculation of the room modes to analyse and model rooms needing acoustic treatment. 

Treatment Specification & Installation Plans

Development of specification for various spaces and draughting of installation plans by hand and later using Adobe Illustrator to modify architect’s drawings.

Prototyping & Modelling of Hats

Initial low fidelity prototyping to determine the hats’ Sabine coefficient.

Build and Installation

Ordering of all components followed by manufacturing (laser cutting, spray painting, metal work), assembly and installation. Close collaboration with contractors to arrange installation times, costing and equipment hire for safe and proper installation.