Hearing loss and tinnitus are the top causes of military disability claims, impacting more than 2.6 million former service members, as per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Further, the department spends around $1 billion every year on cases of hearing loss. A statistics represent 15% of new disability claims filed under VA every year. Jet noise is a leading cause that gives rise to hearing loss within military personnel. This is because people in the navy need to work close to planes for most of their service.
Recent research might reduce this problem and lessen the health and safety impact caused by jets on military and commercial aviation. This is because researchers have successfully developed a novel nozzle design for F-18 fighter planes which is expected to dampen the deafening roar of engines without causing any changes in their performance. The nozzle would considerably contribute to the advancement of the United States Military Aerospace Engine Market as it decreases the engine noise by almost 5-8 decibels.
The innovative engine nozzle developed involves simplistic attachments that alter the behavior of flow coming from the engine with less to no effects on the subsequent performance. The tests undertaken to check the version of the nozzle demonstrated that engine noise was decreased between 5 and 8 decibels. The number is not huge; however, unlike linear scales like rules, decibels are measured through a logarithmic scale wherein 20 decibels are considered a tenfold louder noise. Thus, the feat achieved is highly relevant and tremendous. Generally, engine companies applaud themselves with only getting half- a - decibel decrease as they are calculated on the logarithmic scale.
Naval Research Advisory Committee revealed that navy soldiers who work on flight decks are exposed to noise as much as 150 decibels. Jets are so loud that noise and vibration caused by it can also damage the aircraft itself (a process known as acoustic loading). On aircraft carriers, the crew obligated to work with the pilot also needs to be extremely close to the plane while it takes off. Due to the short runaway of the carriers, they also have to operate the engine with afterburners making it even louder. Thus, if the engine's noise can be somehow suppressed, it will be beneficial for the crew and the aircraft itself.
The research holds great promise where the reduction of jet noise within commercial and military aerospace is concerned. Interestingly, once the design is fully developed and tested, it could also be applied on numerous engines with little to no modifications.
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