Piezo bearings are tested on a VW Passat

German researchers are testing the use of piezoceramics to dampen noise inside vehicles and say the technology is ready for use.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Adaptronics Alliance, a joint initiative of 11 Fraunhofer research institutes in Germany, will demonstrate some of the new so-called "smart materials" at the Hannover Industrial Fair April 4 ”“ 8.

Piezoceramics is a material that transforms electrical energy to motion. It can dampen vibrations by converting them to electrical energy.

The researchers are currently testing piezoceramic bearings attached to a vehicle between the chassis and a metal frame positioned atop the chassis. Normally, rubber components are used for this purpose, but the new materials work better by electronically counteracting and neutralizing the vibrations that cause noise inside a car.

"The result is a quiet ride," the Fraunhofer Adaptronics Alliance said in a press release.

It also said it expected more products based on smart materials to come to market in the next two years.

Said Tobias Melz, head of the Alliance:"The technology is ready. Work is moving forward on other exciting solutions ”“ from mechanical engineering to the consumer-goods market."