Chalmers is a Swedish technical university having its campus right in the heart of Gothenburg. Our division is located on this campus and we belong to the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The research activities have traditionally been devoted to structure-borne sound in buildings and vehicles, noise control engineering, architectural acoustics, and electroacoustics. During the recent years the research profile of the division has been expanded. Today tyre/road noise, active control of of sound and vibration, sound propagation outdoors, and sound and vibration quality are key research areas. The Vibroacoustics Group led by Prof. Wolfgang Kropp is today one of the leading research groups in tyre/road noise modelling.
The research in the Audio Technology Group revolves around 3D sound capture and reproduction by means of arrays of microphones and loudspeakers. Array technologies for ultrasound applications also in the portfolio.
We are responsible for the undergraduate and graduate education in acoustics at Chalmers University of Technology. Our education has its roots in our research. With our International Master’s Program in Sound and Vibration we pass our knowledge to future specialists in the field of acoustics.
Acoustics has been a part of the School of Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology since 1943, and the department started off as an acoustics laboratory in the Department of Building Technology. In the fall of 1943 Dr. Per Brüel left Denmark for Sweden, where he started developing sound absorbing materials together with the Billesholm company, now Ecophon, a part of the Saint-Gobain group of companies. Chalmers Professor of Architecture, Melchior Wernstedt, asked Dr. Brüel to come to Chalmers to set up the acoustics laboratory in the building of the School. Some costs were defrayed by industry such as Gotaverken.
However, the Professor of Building Technology, Dr. Hjalmar Granholm, who was very interested and knowledgable in acoustics, asked Dr. Brüel to have the laboratory arranged as a part of his department. Dr. Brüel hired M.Sc. Uno Ingård as his assistant. The laboratory now developed products for building acoustics, did research into building acoustics measurement, as well as noise studies. Almost all those employed in the laboratory (typically 5 persons) had a background in electrical engineering. In parallel to his work in the laboratory, Dr. Brüel started the Brüel & Kjær Company, which manufacturers acoustic measurement equipment, together with some partners. (Possibly the largest Chalmers spin-off company ever, with more than 6000 employees world-wide(2000).) The famous strip chart level recorder was developed in the laboratory during this time. Dr. Brüel left Chalmers and moved back to Denmark in 1947. After obtaining his licentiate degree, Dr. Ingård left for the MIT Acoustics Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The activities in the field of acoustics at Chamers were then taken over by M.Sc. Stig Ingemansson, whom Dr. Ingård had hired in 1948. Stig Ingemansson was one of the pioneers of noise control and later started the Ingemansson Consulting Co, once the largest acoustics consulting company in northern Europe, incorporated into ÅF 2006. In the 1950s the work at the laboratory focused on the acoustical problems in buildings which were a result of the new methods used in the post-WWII building boom. The laboratory also worked on industrial and aircraft noise problems. In the mid-1950s Stig Ingemansson obtained a position as a teacher in acoustics. The courses taught included compulsory courses on building acoustics for the students at the schools of Architecture and Civil Engineering, and an elective course on electroacoustics for students at the School of Electrical Engineering.
Efforts towards obtaining a Chair in Acoustics at Chalmers were started in the early 1960s. The government decided to fund the Chair in 1963, probably influenced by the intensive public debate in the newspapers on the poor sound insulation properties of newly built buildings that had taken place in the preceding years. The Chair was not advertized until 1964, and the first regular holder of the Chair was Dr. Tor Kihlman, who became the first professor and department head in 1969. Prof. Kihlman is emeritus professor and continues working in the project “Soundscape support to health”. Tor Kihlman is active in several international organisations such as I-INCE and ICA.
Research continued on building acoustics, noise control of machinery, electroacoustics, and room acoustics. Teaching now included both a fundamental and an advanced course on building acoustics for the School of Civil Engineering, building acoustics for the School of Architecture, and electroacoustics for the School of Electrical Engineering. Eventually a course on noise control was added for the School of Mechanical Engineering. Courses were also developed for industry such as the automotive car manufacturers Volvo and Saab, as well as other industry.
The Division of Applied Acoustics is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate education in acoustics at Chalmers University of Technology. A wider teaching program was adopted in 1991/92 with the addition of the program in Sound & Vibration. It was succeeded in 1999 by the International Masters Program in Sound & Vibration. Both programs have supplied industry, nationally and internationally, with highly qualified specialists in these fields. Typically some 20 students each year study this program. Most of our Ph.D. students have studied this program.
In 1995 Dr. Mendel Kleiner became associate professor and in 1999 professor and head of the department. Mendel Kleiner is responsible for teaching and research into audio, electroacoustics, psychoacoustics and architectural acoustics. In the 1980’s Mendel Kleiner started the Chalmers Room Acoustics Group, CRAG, which is well known, particularly for the development of auralization techniques for architectural acoustics. Between August 2003 and June 2005, Mendel Kleiner was Professor of Architecture, and the Director of the Program in Architectural Acoustics, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, USA. Mendel Kleiner came back to Chalmers in 2005. In 2006 CRAG changed its name to CRAG-MSA, (MSA = Multi-Sensory Applications) in view of its broader scope in teaching and research, focussing on communication sound quality, multi-modal aspects of hearing, effects of emotion on sensory perception, and room acoustics.
In 1998 Dr. Wolfgang Kropp succeeded Tor Kihlman as professor and holder of the Chair in Acoustics. When Mendel Kleiner left in 2003, Wolfgang Kropp became head of the Division of Applied Acoustics. Wolfgang Kropp leads the Vibroacoustics Group. He is responsible for applied acoustics and noise control. The research in the vibroacoustics group encompasses tyre/road noise modelling, vehicle acoustics, sound propagation outdoors, as well as active control and thermoacoustics.
In January 2005, the official name of the department was changed to the Division of Applied Acoustics, when Chalmers was given a new organizational structure. As of 2017, the Division belongs to the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.