Recently on Insights we discussed how Noise, Vibration, or Harshness (NVH) within a vehicle leads to an inferior driving experience. Whether for airborne or structural reasons, NVH, when it goes unchecked, can make for an uncomfortable ride on our ears, and our entire bodies.
While consumers take comfort into account when purchasing a car, vibration also has the potential to negatively impact a vehicle’s durability. That’s why some automakers are turning to vibration-canceling technology as a solution.
How Does NVH Impact Overall Cost of Ownership?
Over time, excessive and repetitive vibrations can definitely take their toll on a vehicle. In general, disruptive NVH can shorten product life and result in damage to materials or components. This certainly impacts a car, as decreased product life and/ or damage leads to purchasing costly new components or expensive repairs—and that doesn’t even take into consideration the potential labor costs.
For many consumers, overall cost of ownership is an important factor in their car-buying process. So many elements go into this calculation—including gas mileage, down payment, finance rate, and more—but if NVH leads to excessive repairs and repeated visits to a mechanic, then it’s obviously going to raise the overall cost of ownership of that specific vehicle, making it less attractive to a potential buyer. Even worse, if this damage remains hidden, it becomes a safety issue that affects the overall reliability of the car as well—which is far more concerning.
How Can Vibration-Canceling Technology Help?
The right material can reduce dynamic mobility without adding too much weight (which is always a concern in the automotive industry). For example, a viscoelastic damping structure like Countervail® helps to lower that dynamic mobility, leading to less overall noise and vibration. This can help ensure that a car’s components last longer, and that they perform as intended over the long haul.
Vibration-canceling material can be strategically placed within a vehicle that requires no changes in tooling and manufacturing procedures for implementation.
While high levels of damping are typically achieved by adding parasitic mass or material layers, that won’t work for automobiles since that material is usually too compliant, soft, or heavy. However, Countervail® layups can be customized to balance stiffness, strength, and damping efficiency to minimize NVH as much as possible, and without compromising vehicle performance.
Longer Part Life Leads to Safer Vehicles
The good news for the automobile industry is that true composite materials now exist that can address NVH requirements at minimal weight. For many manufacturers, this solves a critical problem since Countervail® treatments can easily be integrated into composite solutions. Because reducing NVH has a compelling domino effect: overall cost of ownership aside, longer part life leads to more reliable cars, and more reliable cars lead to safer highways and roads.