Generative Design of Acoustical Diffuser and Absorber Elements Using Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing
Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32799
Generative Design of Acoustical Diffuser and Absorber Elements Using Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing

Authors: S. Aziz, B. Alexander, C. Gengnagel, S. Weinzierl


This paper explores a generative design, simulation, and optimization workflow for the integration of acoustical diffuser and/or absorber geometry with embedded coupled Helmholtz-resonators for full scale 3D printed building components. Large-scale additive manufacturing in conjunction with algorithmic CAD design tools enables a vast amount of control when creating geometry. This is advantageous regarding the increasing demands of comfort standards for indoor spaces and the use of more resourceful and sustainable construction methods and materials. The presented methodology highlights these new technological advancements and offers a multimodal and integrative design solution with the potential for an immediate application in the AEC-Industry. In principle, the methodology can be applied to a wide range of structural elements that can be manufactured by additive manufacturing processes. The current paper focuses on a case study of an application for a biaxial load-bearing beam grillage made of reinforced concrete, which allows for a variety of applications through the combination of additive prefabricated semi-finished parts and in-situ concrete supplementation. The semi-prefabricated parts or formwork bodies form the basic framework of the supporting structure and at the same time have acoustic absorption and diffusion properties that are precisely acoustically programmed for the space underneath the structure. To this end, a hybrid validation strategy is being explored using a digital and cross-platform simulation environment, verified with physical prototyping. The iterative workflow starts with the generation of a parametric design model for the acoustical geometry using the algorithmic visual scripting editor Grasshopper3D inside the Building Information Modeling (BIM) software Revit. Various geometric attributes (i.e., bottleneck and cavity dimensions) of the resonator are parameterized and fed to a numerical optimization algorithm which can modify the geometry with the goal of increasing absorption at resonance and increasing the bandwidth of the effective absorption range. Using Rhino.Inside and LiveLink for Revit the generative model was imported directly into the Multiphysics simulation environment COMSOL. The geometry was further modified and prepared for simulation in a semi-automated process. The incident and scattered pressure fields were simulated from which the surface normal absorption coefficients were calculated. This reciprocal process was repeated to further optimize the geometric parameters. Subsequently the numerical models were compared to a set of 3D concrete printed physical twin models which were tested in a .25 m x .25 m impedance tube. The empirical results served to improve the starting parameter settings of the initial numerical model. The geometry resulting from the numerical optimization was finally returned to grasshopper for further implementation in an interdisciplinary study.

Keywords: Acoustical design, additive manufacturing, computational design, multimodal optimization.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 491


[1] J. Allwood, J. Cullen, “Steel, aluminium and carbon: alternative strategies for meeting the 2050 carbon emission targets”, 2009.
[2] H. Kloft, M. Empelmann, N. Hack, E. Herrmann and D. Lowke, “Reinforcement Strategies for 3D‐Concrete‐Printing”. Civil Engineering Design, 2.10.1002/cend.202000022, 2020.
[3] G. Hansemann, R. Schmid, C. Holzinger, JP. Tapley, HH. Kim, V. Sliskovic, B. Freytag, A. Trummer and S. Peters, “Additive Fabrication of Concrete Elements by Robots: Lightweight concrete ceiling”. in Fabricate 2020: Making Resilient Architecture, UCL PRESS, London, S. 124-129, 2020.
[4] N. Kohler and S. Moffatt, “Life-Cycle Analysis of the Built Environment”, United Nations Environment Programme Division of Technology, Industry and Economics Publication, UNEP Industry and Environment, 2003.
[5] H. Gervásio, P. Santos, R. Martins and L. S. da Silva, “A macro-component approach for the assessment of building sustainability in early stages of design”. Building and Environment, 73, 256-270, 2014.
[6] NE. Klepeis, WC. Nelson, WR. Ott, JP. Robinson, AM. Tsang, P. Switzer, JV. Behar, SC. Hern and WH. Engelmann, “The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants”, J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2001,
[7] A. Ghaffarianhoseini, H. AlWaer, H. Omrany, A. Ghaffarianhoseini, C. Alalouch, D. C.-C. and J. Tookey, “Sick building syndrome: are we doing enough?”, Architectural Science Review, 61:3, 99-121, 2018.
[8] N. Ghodrati, M. Samari, M.W. Mohd Shafiei, “Green Buildings Impacts on Occupants' Health and Productivity”, Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 8, 4235-4241, 2012.
[9] B. Lehmann, V. Dorer and M. Koschenz, “Application range of thermally activated building systems tabs”, Energy and Buildings, Volume 39, Issue 5, Pages 593-598, ISSN 0378-7788, 2007.
[10] L. Marcos Domínguez, Ongun B. Kazanci, Nils Rage and Bjarne W. Olesen, “Experimental and numerical study of the effects of acoustic sound absorbers on the cooling performance of Thermally Active Building Systems”, Building and Environment, Volume 116, Pages 108-120, ISSN 0360-1323, 2017.
[11] Innogration GmbH, 2013, Thermoaktive Fertig-Betondecken für verbesserte Raumakustik, accessed 27 January 2022, .
[12] K. Mahesh, S. Kumar Ranjith, and R.S. Mini, “Inverse design of a Helmholtz resonator based low-frequency acoustic absorber using deep neural-network,” Journal of Applied Physics 129, 174901, 2021
[13] Xiaoxiao Wu, Caixing Fu, Xin Li, Yan Meng, Yibo Gao, Jingxuan Tian, Li Wang, Yingzhou Huang, Zhiyu Yang, Weijia Wen, et al., “Low-frequency tunable acoustic absorber based on split tube resonators,” Applied Physics Letters 109, 043501, 2016
[14] Software Comsol Multiphysics
[15] Fei Wu, Yong Xiao, Dianlong Yu, Hongang Zhao, Yang Wang, Jihong Wen, et al., “Low-frequency sound absorption of hybrid absorber based on micro-perforated panel and coiled-up channels,” Applied Physics Letters 114, 151901, 2019
[16] Jingwen Guo, Xin Zhang, Yi Fang, Ziyan Jiang, “A compact low-frequency sound-absorbing metasurface constructed by resonator with embedded spiral neck,” Applied Physics Letters 117, 221902, 2020
[17] F. Caeiro, C. Sovardi, K. Förner, W. Polifke, “Shape Optimization of a Helmholtz resonator using an adjoint method,” International Journal of Spray and Combustion Dynamics, vol. 9(4) pp. 394–408, 2017
[18] Y. Aurégan, “Ultra-thin low frequency perfect sound absorber with high ratio of active area,” Applied Physics Letters 113, 201904, 2018
[19] A. Leblanc, A. Lavie, “Three-dimensional-printed-type acoustic metamaterial for low frequency sound attenuation,” in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America vol. 141, EL538; doi: 10.1121/1/4984623, 2017
[20] Software Rhino 6 with Addon Grasshopper3D
[21] ISO 354:2003 Measurement of sound absorption in a reverberation chamber
[22] DIN EN ISO 10534-2:2001-10. Acoustics - Determination of sound absorption coefficient and impedance in impedance tubes - Part 2: Transfer-function method (ISO 10534-2:1998); German version EN ISO 10534-2:2001
[23] Software Addon Rhino. Inside Revit
[24] Software Autodesk Revit
[25] DIN 18041:2016-03 Acoustic quality in rooms - Specifications and instructions for the room acoustic design
[26] ASR A 3.7:2021-03-24 Technische Regeln für Arbeitsstätten - Lärm
[27] VDI 2569:2019-10 Sound protection and acoustical design in offices