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Acoustic properties and optimisation of noise barriers

Noise barriers along transport routes such as motorways and railways are an effective measure to reduce traffic noise. Only by understanding the physical mechanisms of acoustic propagation in the immediate vicinity of a noise barrier it is possible to apply sound protection measures in an optimal way, which can satisfy both infrastructure operators and affected residents.

Our objective is the holistic consideration of the acoustic effectiveness of noise barriers. As part of the international development of the acoustic in-situ testing of noise barriers, the standards EN 1793-4, EN 1793-5 and EN 1793-6 were created to determine the relevant acoustic properties on site or in the laboratory. The three standards mentioned regulate the measurement of sound diffraction at the upper edge, the measurement of sound reflection at the noise barrier and sound insulation in the sense of a holistic approach. The AIT regularly demonstrates its high level of technical competence through extensive testing activities and participation in national and European standardisation committees.

Another focus in the area of noise barriers is the optimisation of their acoustic properties by means of computer-aided modelling and validated simulations. Depending on the problem, different calculation methods are applied. These include the finite element method (FEM) for simulating the internal structure of noise barriers, the boundary element method (BEM) for simulating sound diffraction, and raytracing for evaluating sound immissions at greater distances. AIT experts thus have high-performance tools at their disposal to actively support manufacturers and infrastructure operators. In combination with the expertise in the field of measurement technology, the calculation methods can be validated and noise barriers optimised in a targeted manner.

Current research activities

  • Acoustic measurement and analysis of noise barriers in terms of effectiveness and long-term behaviour
  • Development and validation of test methods for in-situ measurements
  • Optimisation of the acoustic properties of noise barriers by means of computer simulation, e.g. BEM, FEM and ray tracing
  • Combination of measurement and simulation


A. Fuchs, R. Wehr, M. Conter: "Influence of the reference position on the measured sound reflection for flat homogenous noise barriers” Euro-Noise 2018, Kreta, in "Proceedings of Euronoise 2018", Michael Taroudakis, EAA-HELINA, (2018), ISSN: 2226-5147; 8 S.

A. Fuchs, M. Conter, R. Wehr: "Proposal for an In-Situ Approval Testing and Quality Assurance Procedure for Assessing Sound Reflection Properties of Noise Barriers" in: "Proceedings of the 24th International Congress on Sound and Vibration", International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV), 728 (2017), ISSN: 2329-3675; Paper-Nr. 728.

P. Reiter, R. Wehr, H. Ziegelwanger: "Simulation and measurement of noise barrier sound-reflection properties"; in Applied Acoustics, Volume 123 (2017), ELSEVIER; S. 133 - 142.

M. Conter, A. Fuchs, R. Wehr: "Einfluss von Witterung auf die akustischen Eigenschaften von Lärmschutzwänden"; Fachkonferenz DAGA 2017 in: "Programm der DAGA 2017 - 43. Deutsche Jahrestagung für Akustik", DEGA, 43 (2017), Paper-Nr. DAGA2017/00048.

H. Ziegelwanger, M. Conter, A. Fuchs, P. Reiter, R. Wehr: "Optimization of an acoustic resonator for noise barrier top elements"; Konferenz: INTER-NOISE 2016, Hamburg; 22.08.2016 - 24.08.2016; in: "Abstracts Proceedings", I-INCE, (2016), ISSN: 0105-175x; Paper-Nr. 000251.

H. Ziegelwanger, P. Reiter, M. Conter: "The three-dimensional quasi-periodic boundary element method: Implementation, evaluation, and use cases"; International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements, Issue 5 (2016), 3; S. 404 - 414.

M. Garai, E. Shoen, M. Conter, et. al: "Repeatability and Reproducibility of In Situ Measurements of Sound Reflection and Airborne Sound Insulation Index of Noise Barriers"; ACTA ACUSTICA united with ACUSTICA, Volume 100 (2014), Volume 100; S. 1186 - 1201.

S. Gasparoni, R. Wehr, M. Conter, M. Haider, P. Reiter: "BEM simulations of diffraction-optimized geometrical noise barriers, with a focus on tunability"; Acoustics Australia, 41 (2013), 41; S. 202 - 206.

R. Wehr, M. Haider, M. Conter, S. Gasparoni, S. Breuss: "Measuring the sound absorption properties of noise barriers with inverse filtered maximum length sequences"; Applied Acoustics, Volume 74, Issue 5 (2012), ELSEVIER; S. 631 - 639.