Funded Research Projects

SONORUS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola(co-ordinator)
Eindhoven University of Technology
Ghent University
Muller-BBM
The Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research
Empa
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
City of Berlin - Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment
City of Rome
Brighton & Hove City Council
City of Antwerpen
The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research

Researchers
Francesco Aletta
Stathis Margaritis
Funding
Marie Curie grants
Research period
Three years starting from 2013
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

SONORUS is an Initial Training Network (ITN, Nr. 290110, duration 1/10 2012 to 30/9 2016) in the 7th framework programme People of the EC. The coordinator of the project is Chalmers University of Technology. Within this project we are seeking 2 early-stage researchers (ESR) with duration of 36 month to join the Acoustics Group, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, UK. From SONORUS a new generation of researchers will emerge with the profile needed to reverse the negative trend of a deteriorating acoustic outdoor environment in urban areas. Successfully Participation in the SONORUS will be awarded with an ''Urban Sound Planner Certificate''.

SOUNDSCAPE OF EUROPEAN CITIES AND LANDSCAPES

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
30+ member organisations
Researcher
to be appointed
Funding
Funded by the EU COST
Research period
Fours year starting from 2009
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Reducing sound level, the focus of EU environmental noise policy, does not necessarily lead to improved quality of life in urban/rural areas, and a new multidisciplinary approach is essential. Soundscape research represents this paradigm shift as it involves not only physical measurements but also the cooperation of human/social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, architecture, anthropology, medicine), to account for the diversity of soundscapes across countries and cultures; and it considers environmental sounds as a 'resource' rather than a 'waste'. Although there is significant research activity at the national level and this new paradigm is touched upon in work packages scattered across European Framework projects, there is no systematic international coordination and multidisciplinary cooperation. Aiming at providing the underpinning science and practical guidance in soundscape, this Action will create a vibrant/productive international network of initially 25+ participants from 18 COST countries and 7+ partners outside Europe; and the Action will deliver an integrated database of laboratory/field studies, harmonised/standardised soundscape assessment and indicators, academic and practical publications, and tools to support designers and decision makers in planning and reshaping urban/rural spaces. The Action promotes health and sustainability, attracts investment, conveys cultural uniqueness/diversity and enhances quality of life.

HOLISTIC AND SUSTAINABLE ABATEMENT OF NOISE BY OPTIMIZED COMBINATIONS OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL MEANS (HOSANNA)

Sheffield principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
CHALMERS TEKNISKA HOEGSKOLA AB (co-ordinator)
STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET
CENTRE SCIENTIFIQUE ET TECHNIQUE DU BATIMENT
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD
INTERDISCIPLINARY INSTITUTE FOR BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY
INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORT ECONOMICS
MÜLLER-BBM GMBH
CANEVAFLOR SAS
ACOUCITE
CITY OF STOCKHOLM
Research fellows
to be appointed
Funding
Funded by the EU COST
Research period
Three years starting from 2009
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Reducing sound level, the focus of EU environmental noise policy, does not necessarily lead to improved quality of life in urban/rural areas, and a new multidisciplinary approach is essential. Soundscape research represents this paradigm shift as it involves not only physical measurements but also the cooperation of human/social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, architecture, anthropology, medicine), to account for the diversity of soundscapes across countries and cultures; and it considers environmental sounds as a 'resource' rather than a 'waste'. Although there is significant research activity at the national level and this new paradigm is touched upon in work packages scattered across European Framework projects, there is no systematic international coordination and multidisciplinary cooperation. Aiming at providing the underpinning science and practical guidance in soundscape, this Action will create a vibrant/productive international network of initially 25+ participants from 18 COST countries and 7+ partners outside Europe; and the Action will deliver an integrated database of laboratory/field studies, harmonised/standardised soundscape assessment and indicators, academic and practical publications, and tools to support designers and decision makers in planning and reshaping urban/rural spaces. The Action promotes health and sustainability, attracts investment, conveys cultural uniqueness/diversity and enhances quality of life.

Professor Jian Kang is the Chair and grant holder of this EU COST Network.

THE SOUND ENVIRONMENT FOR CRITICALLY ILL PATIENTS IN NHS HOSPITALS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Co-investigators
Gary Mills
Mei Zhang
Hui Xie
Research fellows
to be appointed
Funding
National Health Service (NHS)
Research period
Two years starting from 2009
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

While noise in hospitals is a significant problem, often complained about by patients and staff, little has been done to address it effectively. This important topic deserves to be the focus of more attention, and the aim of this research is to explore the acoustic effects in NHS hospitals, with a particular attention to critical care environment where noise is a major problem, and then address the resulting design issues as part of the optimisation of the overall physical environment. Detailed objectives include:
(1) to review the acoustic indicators and criteria as well as possible design conflicts between acoustics and other issues in the overall physical environment design;
(2) to survey the current acoustic conditions in NHS hospitals through case studies in selected hospitals, by considering both noise levels and reverberation conditions;
(3) to examine the effects of acoustic environment, as part of the overall physical environment, on both patients and staff in terms of acoustic comfort and healing, through interviews and collecting physiological data;
(4) to explore the effectiveness of some acoustic treatments including absorbers/diffusers/insulators and sound masking systems considering therapeutic sounds, by changing acoustic conditions in selected sites, and by carrying out computer-based acoustic modelling;
(5) to carry out data analysis, considering the relationships between various parameters and acceptable acoustic criteria and consequently, to develop practical guidelines and recommendations for hospital acoustic design, as an integrated part of the optimisation of the overall physical environment.

RESEARCH CLUSTER FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF ACOUSTIC AND MUSICAL ELEMENTS OF PREHISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN BRTAIN

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Collaborators
University of Huddersfield (co-ordinator)
University of Durham
Funding
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Research period
One year starting from 2009
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

This project will investigate how the study of the acoustics and musical context of a prehistoric archaeological site, can inform the understanding of the lives of the people who used it. It will develop a research cluster in order to create specific research projects and funding applications able to explore the sonic architecture of prehistoric sites. It will develop a methodology for this kind of project, sharing and exploring good practice. It will allow researchers from different disciplines to meet, work together, and to build research teams that provide the broad range of knowledge and skills needed for this kind of investigation. It will also provide an opportunity for academic researchers to meet and work with heritage organisations and managers as well as industry contacts in acoustics and digital modelling. It aims to bridge the gaps between the sciences, arts and humanities by bringing together acousticians, software developers, musicologists, archaeologists and anthropologists to work together.

COINCIDENT PROBABILISTIC CLIMATE CHANGE WEATHER DATA FOR A SUSTAINABLE BUILT ENVIRONMENT (COPSE)

Sheffield principal investigators (CIs)
Professor Steve Sharples and Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
University of Manchester (co-ordinator)
Napier University
Northumbria University
Bath University
Aedas Architects
Environmental Design Solution
Faber Maunsell
3D Reid
Hopkins Architects
King Shaw Associates
Integrated Environmental Solutions
Bristol City Council
Fielden Clegg Bradley
Buro Happold
DesignBuilder Software
Derrick Braham Associates
Hoare LEA
Researcher
Michael Barclay
Funding
EPSRC
Research period
Three years from 2008
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The objectives of this EPSRC funded project are:
- To establish UKCIP08-based outputs and design criteria for domestic and non-domestic buildings with a consistent weather data framework based on probabilistic future weather data derived from UKCIP08 scenarios;
- To establish UKCIP08-based outputs and design criteria for domestic and non-domestic buildings with a consistent weather data framework based on probabilistic future weather data derived from UKCIP08 scenarios;
- To develop methodologies for transforming UKCIP08-based probabilistic data into building design data for practitioners, developing a new Design Reference Year (DRY) and novel coincident occurrence selection, taking into account the range of requirements and capabilities to be found in the practitioner community;
- To develop means of modifying the data to reflect Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects and the capability of generating building design data for any UK location utilising the UKCIP weather generator;
- To assess the adaptation potential for carbon emission reduction from new and refurbished buildings using the new methodology and data.
- To provide academic papers and draft explanatory literature appropriate for professional practitioners and suitable for use in training, including UKCIP08 scenario ‘story lines’ specifically related to buildings and their implications for the future;
- To ensure the relevance and utility of outputs through creating a strong Stakeholder Group (SG) with a network of corresponding members (CMs) and to validate the form and content of outputs through Case Studies of new-build and refurbishment projects identified with the aid of SG and CM members. The case studies will also to be used to assess adaptation potential for carbon emission reduction.
A main research focus of the Sheffield team is the integrated consideration of acoustics and ventilation under changing climates.

PROPAGATION OF NOISE IN CONGESTED HIGH-RISE URBANIZED CITY

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (co-ordinator)
Funding
Hong Kong Research Grants Council
Research period
Three years starting from 2008
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The project aims to carry out a detailed and comprehensive study on noise propagation in urban streets of various configurations relevant to a congested high-rise city.

TRANQUILLITY OF EXTERNAL SPACES - INFLUENCE OF ACOUSTIC AND VISUAL FACTORS

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Collaborators
University of Bradford (Co-ordinator)
Greater London Authority
Researcher
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Funding
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Research period
Two years starting from 2008
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The proposed work is a combination of field data collection and laboratory analysis. The work aims to achieve (1) A better understanding of how visual and audio stimuli combine to determine the perception of tranquillity of rural and urban landscapes. (2) A new engineering design tool for the design of external tranquil spaces with highly variable audio and visual characteristics.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDING ACOUSTICS FOR COMFORT

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Hanyang University, Korea
Greater London Authority
Researchers
6 researchers are involved from both research groups
Funding
British Council
Research period
Two years starting from 2008
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The general aim of this project is to join the strength of the two research teams in their expertise areas, and carry out innovative and internationally leading research in sustainable building acoustics for comfort, and this will also contribute to the international research competencies of the team members. Detailed objectives are: (1) To provide comfortable acoustic conditions for work/living spaces;
(2) To develop the sound masking system for enhancing both speech intelligibility and speech privacy simultaneously;
(3) To enable lower signal to noise ratio by improving the sound quality metrics of sound fields;
(4) To promote the use of sustainable materials/treatments to reduce environmental impacts.

INTRODUCING PSYCHOACOUSTICS INTO URBAN SOUNDSCAPE RESEARCH

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Institute of Acoustics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Researchers
4 researchers are involved from both research groups
Funding
Royal Society jointly with the Chinese Natural Science Foundation
Research period
Two years starting from 2008
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The purpose of this joint project is to bring together the sciences from different directions of environmental acoustics to investigate an effective description and evaluation system for acoustics comfort. The study will be carried out exploring the new methods based on psychoacoustics to assess and further predict human perception of soundscape in urban surrounding. The general objective of this research is to identify factors that characterize soundscape.

ACOUSTIC BENEFITS OF GREEN ROOFS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
Sheffield Greenroof Centre
Kingspan
Researcher
H. Huang
Funding
KTOF
Research period
2008-2009
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim of this project is to determine if the acoustic performance of materials currently used in roof construction are improved through the introduction of a green roof build-up on top of them, considering the variation of several key parameters, including mass, porosity, material, effect of water, etc.

ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENT OF URBAN UNDERGROUND SPACES

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Harbin Institute of Technology (co-ordinator)
Researchers
5 PhD students
Funding
PRC 11th Five Year Plan Major Research Projects Fund
Research period
Five years starting from 2007
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim of this project is to establish acoustic theories and computer models for urban underground spaces; to develop noise control techniques and appropriate materials; and to compile relevant standards and guidelines. Not only noise control, but also acoustic comfort, will be taken into account.

STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS FOR URBAN LOW-INCOME RESIDENTIAL AREAS USING DIGITAL TECHNIQUES

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Wuhan University (co-ordinator)
PhD student
Bo Wang
Funding
PRC Natural Science Foundation
Research period
Three years starting from 2007
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim of this project is to study the current environmental conditions of the urban low-income residential areas, and to develop design guidelines based on case studies and parameter studies using digital techniques and simulation software. The simulation of physical environment will be paid particular attention.

AURALIZATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SOUNDSCAPE

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Research Fellows
Dr. Yuliya Smyrnova, PhD (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Dr. J. Peng
Yan Meng
Funding
European Commission
Research period
Three years starting from 2007
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The objectives of this projects are to:
- Determine fast ways of simulating sound fields with absorption, reflections and diffractions of various urban elements, considering the combination of radiosity, image source method and ray-tracing methods;
- Determine the most effective ways of computer programming for the simulation, namely different ways of efficiently coding the algorithms, considering integration with existing packages;
- Establish the most effective way of considering binaural impulse responses;
- Explore the trade-off between model simplification and the ease in which acoustic models can be effectively integrated into 3D animations;
- Incorporate the above in a tool for conducting research on acoustic environments in 3D;
- Exploit the scope for commercial application of the tool developed.

THEATRE AND ACOUSTICS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Compagnie Animotion
Doncaster Deaf College
Research fellow
Dr. Yuliya Smyrnova
Funding
KTOF
Research period
Six months from 2007
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim of the project is to create effective theatrical spaces for deaf audiences, giving deaf and hearing audiences shared theatrical and creative experiences using the physical effects of sound in space.

NOISE FUTURES NETWORK

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (co-ordinator)
30+ member organisations
Researchers
Yan Meng
Bo Wang
Funding
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Research period
Three years from 2006
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

This network arises from the participation of the members in the EPSRC Ideas Factory “A Noisy Future? Making the World Sound Better”. This brought together participants from a wide range of academic backgrounds and experiences alongside contributions from policy makers and consultants. The skills and backgrounds of the participants include: social science, transport engineering, traffic noise emissions modelling and 2.5D mapping, management and control of traffic noise, economics, media and cultural studies, maths, electronics, sound art, room acoustics, acoustics, building acoustics, psychoacoustics, noise control, health sciences, sound quality engineering, environmental acoustics, aeroacoustics, auditory psychophysics, structural dynamics, mechanical engineering, micro mechanics and noise mapping.

The primary purpose of the network is to facilitate interdisciplinary (multi-interest) research on future soundscapes. More specifically, the objectives of the network are:
- To engage with policy makers, industry representatives and other interested in future soundscapes.
- To expand the network to include expertise required for future research needs.
- To generate a suite of research proposals to EPSRC and other sponsors.
- To build the legitimacy of the group as an advisory body.
- To create a new research community that integrates researchers, artists, industry, educational bodies and policy makers and enables effective communication across disciplines and sectors.
- To explore the best methods of involving the public in research on soundscapes.
- To raise the profile of future soundscapes in the media.
- To encourage interdisciplinary training and information exchange for research students and research assistants in the fields.
- To create a critical mass in the field, placing the UK in a world-leading position in research into soundscapes.
- To encourage and deliver international collaboration.

ACOUSTIC TESTING OF BUILDINGS INTEGRATION WITH FIRE AND AIR SEALING TECHNOLOGIES

Principal investigators
Professor Steve Sharples and Professor Jian Kang
Research Fellow
Daniel Cramond
Industrial partner
HRS Services Ltd
Funding
UK DTI
Research period
Two years starting from 2006
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim of this project is to explore an integrated air/noise/fire testing method as well as optimised sound insulation and air-tightness designs in various buildings types.

WUN ENVIRONMENTAL ACOUSTICS NETWORK

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Partners
Graduate Program in Acoustics, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
School of Architecture and School of Environment and Resources, Zhejiang University, China
Funding
WUN and other sources
Research period
From 2006
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The Sheffield Acoustics Group is the co-ordinator the Worldwide University Network (WUN) (www.wun.ac.uk ) Environmental Acoustics Network. The aim of the network is to promote collaboration for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural research.

OPTIMIZING SPEECH INTELLIGIBILITY DESIGN FOR HONG KONG CLASSROOMS

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (co-ordinator)
Funding
Hong Kong Research Grants Council
Research period
2004-2006
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The aim is to compare the speech intelligibility in classrooms between English and Chinese, given that much research in the area has only been carried out with western languages. Consequently, design guidelines will be developed for classrooms in Hong Kong.

SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL ANALYSIS ON THE SOUNDSCAPE OF OPEN URBAN PUBLIC SPACES: A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Research fellow
Dr. M. Zhang, PhD (Cambridge)
Funding
The British Academy
Research period
Two years starting from 2003
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Soundscape in open urban public spaces is a rather complex system, relating to physical, psychological and social factors. To design better a soundscape, it is important to develop an effective description and evaluation system. The general objective of this research is to identify factors that characterize soundscape in open urban public spaces. Detailed objectives are: (1) to carry out a large scale field survey in selected open urban public spaces; (2) to study the effects of culture aspect by carrying out comparative field surveys in the UK and China; and (3) to study the effects of demographic aspect and the characteristics of sound sources in both countries.

COMPUTER TOOLS FOR ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS EDUCATION

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Funding
Acoustical Society of America: Theodore John Schultz Grant
Research assistant
Yan Meng
Research period
Two years starting from 2003
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The overall aim of the proposed project is to develop a number of simple calculation/simulation tools to help architectural students to understand basic acoustic principles, through acoustic course works as well as studio-related technical submissions.

DEVELOPMENT OF NOVEL WINDOW SYSTEMS FOR OPTIMUM ACOUSTIC, VENTILATION AND DAYLIGHTING PERFORMANCE

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Co-investigators
Prof. Peter Tregenza
Mr. Ian Ward
Project partners
Prof. David Oldham, Liverpool University
Dr. Raf Orlowski, Arup Acoustics
Manufacturers
Research Associate
Dr. Martin Brocklesby, PhD (Sheffield)
Funding
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Research period
Three years starting from 2002
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The objective of the research is to develop a series of window and louver systems which reduce outside noise whilst allowing natural ventilation and daylighting. The basic idea is to investigate systematically the performance of noise reduction systems for windows incorporating novel transparent non-fibrous silencers in terms of acoustics, ventilation and daylighting.

The research builds on the recent work of the principle investigator on a series of transparent and non-fibrous sound absorbers. The research starts with the development of theoretical computer-based models which will be used for the design of a number of prototypes. The prototypes are used to evaluate acoustic performance against daylighting and ventilation performance. The output of the project are (1) the theoretical/computer model, which can be used for evaluating new designs and generating design guidelines, and (2) a series of prototypes with their performance characterised in terms of acoustics, ventilation and daylighting.

A significant aspect of the project is the interdisciplinary approach to the project which will involve work in the areas of acoustics, ventilation and daylighting. The project is of considerable industrial relevance and has attracted the collaboration of Arup Acoustics and window/louver manufacturers.

COMPARISON BETWEEN BRITISH AND CHINESE ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION SYSTEM

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Co-investigator
Professor Jeremy Till
Funding
The British Academy
Research period
Two years starting from 2002
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The overall aim of the project is to review and compare British and Chinese architectural education systems and to investigate what lessons can be learned from each other. Through a number of publications and workshops/seminars, the outcome of the project would encourage more communication and exchange programs between British and Chinese architectural schools.

REDISCOVERING THE URBAN REALM AND OPEN SPACES

Sheffield principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (co-ordinator), Greece
National Hellenic Centre for Social Research, Greece
University of Cambridge Department of Architecture, UK
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Greece
Municipality of Thermi, Thessaloniki, Greece
Haute Ecole Specialisee de Suisse Occidentale: Ecole d'inginieurs et d'architectes de Fribourg, Switzerland
Municipality of Fribourg, Switzerland
Esbensen Consulting Engineers, Denmark
Polytechnic University of Milano, Department of Industrial Design and Architectural Technology, Italy
University Of Kassel, Faculty of Urban and Landscape Planning, Department of Climatology, Germany
Research fellow
Dr. Mei Zhang, PhD (Cambridge)
PhD student
Wei Yang
Funding
European Commission
Research period
Three years starting from 2001
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The central aim of this project is to produce an urban design tool that provides urban designers, planners and other decision makers, with the appropriate means for effectively assessing the development of cities, targeting outdoor spaces in the urban context across Europe. More specifically it proposes: different models for evaluation of the microclimate of open spaces and the resulting thermal, visual and audible comfort conditions for the people using these spaces, a methodology for developing comfort maps for the area, and design guidelines for the development of open spaces, as well as a list of indicators for the socio-economic implications for the area. As a pilot action, these are applied to the development of open spaces, at three different municipalities across Europe. The focus of the University of Sheffield in this project is soundscape and acoustic comfort.

Research & Demonstration Project: A Low-Energy 'Low-Energy Whole-House' Ventilation System (RDPCLEVS)

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partners
University of Cambridge (co-ordinator)
Titon Hardware Ltd., UK
Cenergis ApS, Denmark; School of Architecture, Dublin
FLOP System S.C., Poland
Funding
European Commission
Research period
Three years starting from 2001
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

This project follows on from an EPSRC-funded study into the operational characteristics and viability of supply air windows. The earlier work was carried out using test cells and yielded some promising results. This new project aims to establish whether the same beneficial results can be achieved under real house conditions in Southern Poland, Denmark and Ireland. The research focus of Sheffield University in this project is to reduce noise ingress through the system.

The design is innovative in that 'supply air' windows have now been combined with passive stack ventilation (PSV) to form a 'low energy whole house' ventilation system. Due to increasing levels of insulation and more stringent air tightness requirements for housing, ventilation heat loss is an increasing percentage of domestic energy consumption. One solution is to use a mechanical ventilation heat reclaim system, which relies on constantly running fans. The 'low energy whole house' system is a passive alternative. The PSV expels air, as a result of the buoyancy in warm kitchens and bathrooms, and thereby powers the movement of air through the supply air windows. The supply air windows are effectively reclaiming a proportion of the heat being lost through the passive stack.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF NOISE BARRIERS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
PhD student
Jennifer Joynt
Funding
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), CASE Scheme
Industrial partners
Charles Andrews Control and Environmental
RPS
Research period
Three years starting from 2001
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

The general objective of the research is to investigate overall environmental impact of acoustic barriers. Both acoustic and non-acoustic factors will be considered. Part of the research is a case study of a recently constructed road noise barrier, investigating the benefit and importance of fully representing and incorporating public opinion and perception into the design process of noise barriers. Interviews have been carried out on the site. It is intended that through this research the general perception of the final constructed road-side noise barrier can be systematically studied, in terms of its form, location, acoustic properties, and general environmental impact; and a generic methodology will be developed acknowledging the invaluable role of public opinion in the development and design of successful barriers, to be adhered to by barrier design professionals.

SPEECH INTELLIGIBILITY OF DINING SPACES

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Funding
Nuffield Foundation
Research period
Three years starting from 2001
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Speech intelligibility is an important issue in dining spaces. Unfortunately, a recent survey shows that the quality of speech communication between diners is rather poor. From a practical viewpoint, what is needed are systematic design guidelines, and a predictive model capable of evaluating possible ameliorating measures. From a theoretical viewpoint, a better understanding of the speech intelligibility and the sound field characteristics of dining spaces is essential. The research would contribute towards the above. The research would include field survey and measurements, physical scale modelling, development of a computer model, and a parametric study for developing design guidance.

APPLICATION OF RADIOSITY IN ACOUSTICS

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Funding
Royal Society
Research period
2000-2002
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Consideration of boundary diffusion is vital in architectural and environmental acoustic simulation. Unfortunately, such consideration has been over-simplified in current theoretical/computer models. The radiosity method, which was originally developed for the study of radiant heat transfer, is an advanced technique for considering diffusion. The objective of this research is to systematically examine the feasibility of using radiosity method in acoustic simulation. The research includes three parts, namely development of algorithms, development of computer program, and validation of the theoretical/computer model by using scale modelling technique.

INTEGRATING SCIENTIFIC VISUALISATION INTO THE ARCHITECTURAL CURRICULUM FOR TEACHING ACOUSTICS AND NOISE CONTROL

Sheffield principal investigator (CI)
Professor Jian Kang
Project partner
Chinese University of Hong Kong (co-ordinator)
Funding
Hong Kong TDG
Research period
Three years starting from 1999
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

Predicting and evaluating building performance plays an important role in the training of responsible architects. However, these types of analysis are often laborious, non-intuitive, and non-graphical. As a result, these important issues do not arouse the enthusiasm of architectural students, who must devote considerable effort to develop tangible design representations such as drawings and models. The ever-increasing power, sophistication, and availability of computational hardware and software offer possibilities to improve the analysis, visualisation, and pedagogy of these issues.

The objective of this project is to explore, develop, and support a long-term strategy to apply scientific visualisation to teach the core architectural curriculum in architectural and environmental acoustics. Two acoustic programs have been developed within the frame of this project. HKSTR is a program calculating sound pressure level distribution and reverberation process in urban streets. HKABS is a program calculating absorption coefficient of micro-perforated panels and membranes mounted over an airtight cavity.

A MODEL FOR PREDICTING THE IMPACT OF URBAN NOISE AND FOR ASSESSING MEASURES TO MITIGATE IT

Principal investigator
Professor Jian Kang
Collaborator
Arup Acoustics
Funding
Lloyd's Foundation
Research period
From 1998
Email: j.kang@sheffield.ac.uk
T:+44 (0)114 222 0325
F:+44 (0)114 222 0315

It is well known that noise from road traffic and other sources has a substantial and growing detrimental impact on the urban environment. Buildings in noisy environments need to be sealed, inhibiting low energy strategies based on natural ventilation. The objectives of this research are to develop and validate an accurate prediction model that simulates the propagation of noise in urban environments, and to investigate the effect of controlling measures, at both urban and architectural scales. In particular, the model seeks to deal with two currently unresolved issues: (1) the effect of facade geometry and orientation, landscaping and street furniture on sound propagation along streets, and (2) the behaviour of sound at street junctions, so that a network of interconnecting streets typical of urban areas can be considered, not simply one street in isolation. This would lead to an improved understanding of noise control in urban areas.

Using the radiosity technique, a theoretical/computer model has been developed for the sound field in a single urban street resulting from diffusely reflecting boundaries. The model divides building facades and ground into a number of patches and then simulates the sound propagation in a street by energy exchange between the patches. Computations in a typical street with a single noise source show that with diffusely reflecting boundaries the sound attenuation along the length is significant, and the sound distribution in a cross-section is generally even unless the cross-section is very close to the source. The effectiveness of architectural changes and urban design options on further increasing sound attenuation along the length, such as by strategically arranging buildings in a street or adding absorption patches on facades or ground, has been analysed. It has also been demonstrated that by replacing geometrically reflecting boundaries with diffusely reflecting boundaries, the sound attenuation along the length becomes greater, the reverberation time becomes shorter, and the extra sound attenuation caused by air absorption becomes less. This suggests that from the viewpoint of urban noise reduction, it is better to design the street boundaries as diffusely reflective rather than acoustically smooth. A model for a typical urban element consisting of a major street and two side streets has also been developed. Currently the model is being extended so that it is applicable to a network of interconnecting streets.

The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK