Gadget in extremis: LEAF, the killer European sound system

ESA ESTEC Noordwijk

Wow. How about this? Thanks to Engadget for highlighting something custom made for our Gadget-in-extremis category.

It’s a sound system so powerful it would kill you to hear it in full force! It’s at the European Space Agency and is the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) that simulates the noise of a rocket launch.

The ESA writes:

LEAF is an integral part of ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, a collection of spaceflight simulation facilities under a single roof. One wall of the chamber – which stands 11 m wide by 9 m deep and 16.4 m high – is embedded with a set of enormous sound horns. Nitrogen shot through the horns can produce a range of noise up to more than 154 decibels, like standing close to multiple jets taking off.

For safety, LEAF will only operate once all the doors are closed. And while steel-reinforced concrete walls (coated with epoxy resin) safely contain the noise, the whole chamber itself is supported on rubber bearing pads to isolate it from its surroundings.

Read the full post »

Image below: ESA – Second Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite following acoustic testing simulating the extreme noise of a rocket launch, after the doors of the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) were opened in September 2013. 



One comment

  1. There’s an even louder one at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. Built to full simulate the noise output of a Saturn rocket engine firing on the test stand, it was built to see if that level of noise would harm buildings and people offsite. It’s now a National Historical Monument.

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