Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Road Noise

>On Tue, 23 Sep 1997 13:48:40 -0700,
>Christopher England   <cengland@earthlink.net> wrote:
>>But freeway noise rumbles through most of LA.  The noise bounces off
>>clouds, gets bent by inversion layers; its all over.  Nobody knows that
>>it can be controlled.  QUIETER TIRES!

Hmmm. Interesting question.  Listening to traffic, its 'gestalt' sound
seems to be composed of a number of sound elements, appearing in roughly
this order of perceptibilty:

        * the engine
        (determined by loudness, timbre, degree of maintenance, age, efficiency)

        * sound of tires along road surface
        (determined by - I'm guessing - tread size, speed of the car, and
surface texture: wet/dry, concrete, pavement, cobblestone, gravel, etc.)

        * sound of wind dispersion around the body of the car
        (determined by aerodynamic shape of the car)

        * speed of the car (60km? 100km?...)

        * climatic conditions (air density, temperature, wind currents,
degree of cloud cover, etc.)
        (* This is the most elusive and unpredictable factor!  For example:
from my quiet, turn-of-the-century neighborhood backyard, somedays, I can
hear _nothing_ but birds, squirrels; on other days, I can hear the Don
Valley Parkway (a major highway artery) on the other side of the ravine; on
other days, I can hear the playground of a nearby school.)

        * sheer density of traffic

        * proximity of listener to traffic

>   How can you make a tire more quiet?  Is it a different rubber
>formula?  Different tread design?

Perhaps an even more far-reaching solution would be to encourage and
promote conversion to electric cars?  They are virtually silent, in which
case, the tire and wind sounds are actually very useful.  For as far as
pedestrians and cyclists are concerned, a _silent_ car is considerably more
dangerous than a noisy one b/c YOU CAN'T HEAR IT COMING!!

What continues to astonish me is that every major auto manufacturer in
North America has a number of electric cars prototyped in their research
labs waiting to be sold.  They are simply waiting for significant consumer
demand and/or the government to order them to start promoting them
(something North American governments aren't ever likely to do).

Anyone know any automotive designers who could comment?


            RICHARD WINDEYER__________________________________________

                                        #1-429 Wellesley Street East,
                                        Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4X 1H5,
________________________________________tel: (416) 923-8506

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