OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more


Building acoustic panels using Nike Grind materials.

Photo of Naman Mandhan
7 8

Written by

Drawing parallels between the material properties of polyurethane (PU) foam used to manufacture acoustic panels, and both EVA and PU foams within the Nike Grind material list, this idea proposes the use of Nike Grind foam and textile to make acoustic panels that can be used in homes, conference rooms, movie theaters and music studios.

In it's simplest form, an acoustic panel could be broken down into three different components - a foam filling as the sound absorbent, a frame (made from wood or metal) to provide structure, and a fabric outer layer to cover the structure and foam.

Using layers of Nike Grind PU and/or EVA foam as the sound absorbent in acoustic panels, and using the Grind textiles as the outer covering could be a feasible substitute for the materials currently in use.

The next set of questions that will need to be answered are:

  1. Binding agents - how might we combine layers of foam to obtain the thickness required to absorb sounds at various frequencies?
  2. Acoustic absorption performance - how well do Nike Grind foam materials absorb sound when compared to materials currently used? What tests will need to be conducted, and are there simulations that can be run?
  3. Applications - can the performance of these materials meet the standards needed for their use in homes, studios and movie theaters? Are there applications elsewhere (for example, car interiors) where these might be more suitable for?
  4. Manufacturing complexity - will the changes needed for production processes require an additional layer of complexity? If yes, how might we design a solution that fits into current manufacturing processes?
  5. Additional materials - could the Grind fiber "fluff" be incorporated as a material between layers?

To answer some of these questions, specifically the ones related to the acoustic absorption performance of these materials, quick prototypes of these panels can be constructed and lined in rooms to observe the effects of their use, and then compared with conventional panels used today.

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Mixed Footwear Textile
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

The target market for this product will be homeowners, studio professionals of all levels, interior designers and architects, and acoustic engineers/designers for theaters and concert halls.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jurijs Kovzels

Hi Naman Mandhan !

I think that idea to use Nike Grind materials for this application is very exciting.

As I suggested to Acoustic Panels team before it might worth considering the following:

1. Highlight the nature of materials. Make the surface of the panels rough and uncovered. Firstly, irregularities of the material and surface help diffuse and reflect sound waves randomly. This sort of panels will not be suitable for studios and anechoic rooms but can be applicable for offices and meeting rooms. Secondly, this may of demonstrating materials can be one good point in marketing the product.
2. Create thinner and lighter version of the panel for ceiling mounting. They can be flexible enough to sag and take the form of a sail.

In both cases I assume that pieces on Nige Grind materials can be securely glued together.


Photo of Naman Mandhan

Jurijs Kovzels Thank you for your feedback! I agree with your comment about the market that these panels will be suitable for. Do you have any ideas on how this idea could be further built on so as to meed the needs of studio artists?

Photo of Lauren Ito

Naman Mandhan . Excited to see the evolution of this concept! To understand more about how you might utilize the materials you've selected in your final product, could you please provide a paragraph or two to the question "How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?" Be as specific as possible about how the Nike Grind materials you've selected could be processed to create your final product. It may be helpful to do some research on how current soundproofing is processed and see how these materials may be used/substituted in that process as a starting point.

Also tagging in Challenge community members Aakar Mehra , Jurijs Kovzels , and Anne-Laure Fayard to connect with and provide feedback on one another's ideas, and specifically, questions to be considering for next steps!

Looking forward to hearing more.

Photo of Yunfang Shi

Dear Naman Mandhan and the team,

Great post! I guess we have a really similar idea to use Nike Grind materials for soundproofing. As for your Acoustic absorption performance question, you might want to test out the how different surface structure would affect the performance. Another issue of the foam is they are easy to catch fire. This is also the problem my group is dealing with right now.

Photo of Naman Mandhan

Hi Yunfang Shi !

Thank you for your post. Yes, we do have some overlap in terms of the idea that we are proposing! Just to clarify, our team's focus through this idea isn't on soundproofing, but is more so related to improving acoustics within spaces.

Yes, the polyurethane foam is definitely known to be a pretty flammable material. I wonder if you know if this also holds true for the EVA foam?

Photo of Yunfang Shi

From my research EVA foam is not considered to be flammable, it will burn at high temperature. But definitely better than PU foam.

Photo of Lauren Ito

Naman Mandhan Yunfang Shi ,

Great to see you connecting with one another and providing feedback!