Quieting a rib-framed honeycomb core sandwich panel for a rotorcraft roof

Stephen A. Hambric, Micah R. Shepherd, Noah H. Schiller, Royce Snider, Carl May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A rotorcraft roof composite sandwich panel has been redesigned to optimize sound power transmission loss (TL) and minimize structure-borne sound for frequencies between 1 and 4 kHz where gear-meshing noise from the transmission has the most impact on speech intelligibility. The roof section, framed by a grid of ribs, was originally constructed of a single honeycomb core/composite face sheet sandwich panel. The original panel has acoustic coincidence frequencies near 600 Hz, leading to poor TL across the frequency range of 1-4 kHz. To quiet the panel, the cross section was split into two thinner sandwich subpanels separated by an air gap. The air gap was sized to target the fundamental mass-spring-mass resonance of the panel system to less than 500 Hz, well below the frequency range of interest. The panels were designed to withstand structural loading from normal rotorcraft operation, as well as "man-on-the-roof" static loads experienced during maintenance operations. Thin layers of viscoelastomer were included in the face sheet ply layups, increasing panel damping loss factors from about 0.01 to 0.05. TL measurements show the optimized panel provides 6-11 dB of acoustic TL improvement and 6-15 dB of structure-borne sound reduction at critical rotorcraft transmission tonal frequencies. Analytic panel TL theory simulates the measured performance within 3 dB over most frequencies. Detailed finite element/boundary element modeling simulates TL slightly more accurately, within 2 dB for frequencies up to 4 kHz, and also simulates structure-borne sound well, generally within 3 dB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012009
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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