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Car Rattling

March 12, 2007

Scientists are trying to get the rattles out of cars.


Silencing noisy cars. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[Sounds of a rattling car interior]

Does your car rattle like an old washing machine? Preventing annoying interior noises is surprisingly tough, so automakers asked Purdue University engineer Doug Adams and his colleagues to work on it. His team started with the headrest, which is held in place by a pin that slides along a groove in the adjustable metal posts.

DOUG ADAMS (Purdue University):
So, there’s this tradeoff: you want people to be able to adjust that headrest easily, but you don’t want to make it too easy, because that means there’s too much free play in there, that would result in this rattling phenomenon.

While the team is currently tinkering with the headrest design to fix the problem, their ultimate goal is to develop computer models that will allow automakers to spot potential noise problems before they build the car. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.