Dr. Arup Neogi of UNT Physics Weighs in on Sound Waves in DRC | College of Science

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February 26, 2020

Dr. Arup Neogi of UNT Physics Weighs in on Sound Waves in DRC

Excerpt below. Read the full story Extremely loud and not actually close: New freeway noise roils Denton neighborhood on the Denton Record Chronicle

"Sound is a simple wave of matter with a lot of power, said Arup Neogi, a physics professor at the University of North Texas.

"That's why they can knock off a window," Neogi said.

His research group received a $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study the control of sound waves using "green barriers," such as rows of bamboo plants.

Rolling tires create most of the noise coming from freeways, but the air traveling around fast-moving cars and trucks makes powerful sound waves, too, Neogi said.

People living in urban areas can become inured to freeway noise, he added, even at the damaging levels that have the attention of public officials in crowded places like New York and California.

"Texas is not as bad because there's a lot of landscape," Neogi said.

The landscape around Westglen has been changing as the city grows. The sound didn't change with the construction of new buildings to the south or north of the neighborhood, Leah Strittmatter said. But after the Kubota building went up directly across the freeway this winter, the sound changed.

Freeway noise bouncing off a building that has a lot of metal "is not out of the question," Neogi said."

But it's also been a wet winter, which could have changed the diffusion of sound waves the past few months.

"Noise can change depending on wind conditions -- especially in winter, you hear it more," Neogi said. "Dew formation can increase the density and speed of sound. The effect is a little more pronounced than on a sunny, summer day."

Neogi noted, too, the speed limit increases to 70 mph at that part of the freeway.

"So people are zooming down that stretch," Neogi said.