17. May 2023 | Magazine:

Acoustically appropriate engineering: Hirschvogel Prize goes to Christopher Blech Dissertation sets new standards for sustainable mobility

For the best dissertation of 2022 at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Frank Hirschvogel Foundation honoured Dr.-Ing. Christopher Blech on Mechanical Engineering Day 2023. With this award, the foundation recognises outstanding scientists in the qualification phase at all mechanical engineering faculties of the TU9 universities.

Christopher Blech received the award, which is endowed with 5,000 euros, for his dissertation “Wave-resolving aircraft cabin noise prediction”, which was written at the Institute for Acoustics. Predicting the noise of future aircraft cabins involves complex simulations in the design process, which even today push powerful computer systems to their limits. In his dissertation, Christopher Blech identifies important insights into the mechanical modelling of an aircraft fuselage and the efficient solution of the models on computational clusters. As a result, the computing time for determining the sound pressure level in the cabin could be reduced by more than 90 per cent.

Award ceremony as part of the Mechanical Engineering Day on 13 May 2023: Jasmine Holfeld/Frank Hirschvogel Foundation, Dean Professor Markus Böl, Dr Christopher Blech, Professor Sabine C. Langer.
Photo credits: fotodesign Braunschweig

The work not only lays an important foundation for the consideration of acoustics in early development of aircraft, the principles are equally applicable to other mobility carriers, such as vehicles, or to building calculations. Supervisor and Head of the Institute of Acoustics Professor Sabine C. Langer also addressed this in her laudation: “It should be emphasised that the methodology has not only set a new standard in aviation and is now being used in further projects, for example in the Cluster of Excellence SE²A, but is also highly relevant in other areas of acoustics, for example in ground-based modes of transport or in building acoustics. The dissertation is groundbreaking for acoustics-based design in mechanical engineering, as it enables detailed sound-field-resolving simulations in early product development phases. This is essential for technology assessment and can contribute significantly to the acceptance of technical solutions, which are key with regard to the transformation to sustainable mobility,” said the laudator Professor Langer.

About the award winner

Christopher Blech completed his mechanical engineering degree at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg in 2014. In his Master’s thesis “Schwingungsberuhigung mittels akustischer Schwarzer Löcher” (“Vibration Calming by Means of Acoustic Black Holes”), he already devoted himself to the study of acoustic phenomena in mechanical engineering.

As a research associate, first at the Institute for Engineering Design and later at the newly founded Institute for Acoustics at TU Braunschweig, Christopher Blech has been significantly involved in the successful application within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence SE²A (Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Aviation, here the sub-project on the validation of turbulent boundary layer excitation in the wind tunnel) since 2014. His EXIST start-up grant, approved from May 2023, is aimed at founding a company on the topic of “Acoustic design in early product development phases”.