How moths inspired new soundproofing metamaterials

The wings of certain moths have the amazing ability to absorb sound including those used by bats for hunting, making them much harder to detect.

The Physics of Life ‘Biological Metamaterials for Enhanced Noise Control Technology’ project led by Professor Marc Holderied at the @University of Bristol and Professor Richard Craster at @Imperial College London have been studying how the scales on moth wings absorb 85% of the sound energy that bats use to try and find them, making them the first known acoustic metamaterials (materials with special properties) in nature.

Researchers are studying these wings in order to reproduce these properties and develop new sound-proofing technology. The researchers aim to reveal how the underlying biomechanical processes of moth wings can be translated into prototypes of novel sound absorbent materials using imaging, modelling, lithography and fabrication.

The project is part of UKRI’s Physics of Life programme, which brings physicists and life scientists together to transform our understanding of living systems and medical science challenges. Collaborations like these require scientists to understand each others’ language and concepts, which takes time- but it can empower researchers to look at scientific chalenges in new way.

Read more about Physics of Life at, and more about this project here.

Source: UKRI