It is common to see soundproofing materials in manufacturing facilities since most equipment can be loud and disruptive. By using these materials, they can prevent auditory damage to workers and it makes a more pleasant work experience for communication. Places that practice noise control such as hearing facilities and product testing facilities require soundproof chambers. This is a practice that measures decibel levels given off by certain products and their effect. Many day-to-day places may utilize soundproofing materials as well. They can be seen in coffee shops, bars, theatres, churches, and restaurants and they are often times disguised as décor.
Soundproofing originated in the 1890’s by a man named Wallace Clement Sabine. Wallace was a physicist and was asked to improve the acoustics inside a lecture hall in Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. He experimented and was the first person to measure reverberation time. He then designed Boston Symphony Hall that opened in 1900 with his findings. This is known as the first building designed with scientifically formulated architectural acoustics.
The 1960’s and 1970’s is known as the decades of very loud music and rock concerts. It was becoming increasingly common for hearing loss to occur and physiological issues. In 1978, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Noise Abatement and Control estimated around 20 million Americans were exposed to enough daily environmental noise to sustain permanent hearing loss. In a short amount of time, Americans increasingly started being exposed to dangerous noise levels. Lawmakers and engineers began searching for ways to reduce the noise pollution in public areas.
In 1972, Congress passed the Noise Control Act which established standards for noise control for public health. Noise barriers along highways were also utilized in the 1970’s to ease the people that lived near busy highways that were exposed to noisy roads.
Soundproofing has become an essential practice for many industries and the public. With more advanced technology, people are now safer from noise pollution.
Soundproofing equipment has many benefits for everyday life and helps put minds at ease. These materials can help improve the quality of recordings for music and television for entertainment purposes. It also reduces the bothersome noise from industrial plants, highways, and many others. There are some crucial side effects of loud noises that can definitely take a toll on the body and mind. Without soundproofing equipment, we can suffer from temporary or permanent hearing loss. It can also result in stress, sleep loss, reduced concentration, and reduced productivity.
How It Works-
There are three types of soundproofing methods that are known to be effective. It is possible to utilize a combination of all three.
Sound Barrier Creation: Sound barriers can be seen most infamously lining a busy highway. These barriers block noise pollution to reduce and eliminate noise.
Vibration Dampening: Vibration dampening can be seen in product testing rooms to reduce vibration energy between surfaces.
Sound Absorption: Sound absorption is when sound waves are absorbed by a material such as polyurethane foam. Sound absorption is most effective when the ratio of the sound barrier is higher. For this reason, many people utilize corrugated foam wedges instead of acoustic panels. Wedges can be seen with pyramid or egg shapes.
Active Noise Control:
Active Noise Control, also known as ANC or active noise reduction (ANR), is a technique that adds an additional second sound to cancel out the first sound. The second sound is usually a low-frequency noise. This kind of technology is often used in speakers and headphones.
Acoustic flooring is important to reduce noise emission. Acoustic flooring is usually used in industrial settings because of factory noises, instruments, and operating equipment. Carpet and fibrous materials are able to reduce sound waves and pollution. Acoustic flooring contains floor sound insulation and vibration shock absorbing materials layered on top with thin layers of acoustic foam and porous mineral boards.
An anechoic chamber is a room that completely absorbs reflections of sound or electromagnetic waves. These chambers are mainly used in order to create quiet environments for the safety of workers and the testing of electromagnetic interferences from many electronic products.
Locally Applied Soundproofing:
Some examples of locally applied soundproofing materials include mufflers, grommets, shocks, and vibration isolators.
Soundproofing systems are often used for sound protection in a large space or room. This is an effective way to avoid damage to employees while working around loud equipment. Acoustical ceilings, acoustic baffles, acoustic foam and acoustic panels are common elements of sound proofing systems, as they have extensive coverage to large surface areas. Their sound wave absorbent materials reduce the reverberations within any space. Performance and music venues typically use soundproofing systems that feature acoustic foam as sound insulation on acoustic wall panels, and acoustical ceilings that to prevent noise pollution or echoes that would distort and dilute the main audio.
- Acoustical Baffle: an acoustical baffle is a material designed to substitute or compliment acoustical ceilings. They are hung vertically from a ceiling structure and are made up of glass fiber.
- Acoustical Ceiling: an acoustical ceiling is a ceiling design that has a suspended ceiling grid and high sound absorption lay-in acoustical panels or tiles. It can control the quality of sound in a specific space.
- Acoustical Curtain: acoustic curtains are heavy-duty drapes or linen panels made from materials that can block noise from moving in between spaces. These are able to absorb the sound of equipment in industrial settings.
- Acoustical Foam: this kind of foam reduces noise and provides insulation by absorbing sound waves. Acoustic foam is used to line sound-reflective surfaces including gyms, clubs, halls, and churches.
- Acoustical Panel: an acoustical panel is a sheet made out of sound absorbent material that is often attached to walls to absorb unwanted noise. Acoustical panels include a frame, internal material, and outer covering.
Sound Isolation Room:
Sound insolation rooms are available to audiologists, doctors, hearing aid specialists, and hearing clinics for hearing testing to gather more research.
Design & Customization-
A great addition to soundproofing materials is they are able to be customized based on your application. For example, it is common to see acoustic panels or curtains that are part of a building’s décor. With this, they are able to customize the size and shape as well.
Before the customization step, it is essential the manufacturer knows whether the purpose for the soundproofing equipment is to improve the sound within a room, or prevent sound from leaving the room. This is because some equipment may be better depending on your application. To make soundproofing pieces, manufacturers typically use materials that will absorb sound and trap the soundwaves inside them. Materials that can do this include wool and foam.
Safety & Compliance Standards-
There are federal government regulations that prevent high noise levels in work environments, schools, offices, airports, and other public buildings. To enforce this, they are required to have a certain amount of soundproofing materials in order to remain functional and safe for the public. In 1972, The Noise Control Act was established to promote an environment for Americans to be free from noise that can potentially jeopardize health and welfare. The state and local governments are responsible for the control of noise and major sources.
How to Choose the Right Manufacturer-
Soundproofing can be a useful addition to a business which means choosing the right materials and manufacturer is important. On this page, there are a few manufacturers that may have what you are looking for. Be sure to compile and list of requirements you are looking for in a manufacturer and materials and research each company. Compare and contrast responses from each company and ask about production and lead times. Be sure to pick a company that listens to your requests and has great customer service.
- Acoustical blankets can be hung from vertical uprights or attached to a frame, enclosing a piece of equipment to absorb and stop noise. They usually consist of polyvinylchloride outer shells and acoustical batting.
- Acoustical enclosures are used when sound must be prevented from spreading from one area to another. Acoustical enclosures include recording booths, industrial enclosures of all kinds, highway walls and noise barrier walls.
- Acoustic flooring are layers of sound-absorbent material underneath flooring material that reduces sound heard between floors in multi-level buildings.
- Barriers provide a high-density layer used to separate or prevent noise from entering a certain area or leaving a contained area. Common uses for barriers are bulkheads, firewall treatments, and pipe wraps.
- Clouds are panels similar to acoustical baffles but are hung in a horizontal position from the ceiling or roof structure.
- Damping materials aid in the control of vibration and structure borne noise often through friction or time. This method is common with sheet metal panels, cab enclosure panels, boat hulls and deck plates and HVAC ductwork.
- Diffusers scatter a sound wave from a surface. Sound direction is changed so listeners may experience sound coming from different directions at equal levels.
- Intake silencers decrease the noise and destructive low frequency pulsations at blower inlets.
- Isolators can reduce vibration by having greater attenuation in one direction than the other and are often found installed under some defined load factor between two surfaces, such as generator pads.
- Modular acoustical panels are easy-to-use portable panel products, such as partitions, wall-mounted panels, baffles and privacy screens.
- Noise pollution refers to any unwanted and unpleasant sound.
- Noise reduction strives to diminish the amount of noise pollution in a given area by breaking, blocking, absorbing or isolating unwanted infiltrating sound waves.
- Reflectors are used to regulate the amount of sound that is reflected off a surface. Reflectors are often used in acoustically sensitive settings.
- Silencers reduce the level of sound through either absorptive, reactive or a combination of mechanisms.
- Sound absorbers are noise control materials and are directly related to the amount of surface area available to be treated. Sound absorbers are frequently found in machine enclosures, housings, industrial environments and medical, marine and transportation applications.
- Sound barriers use a wall of high-density material to reduce roadway noise.
- Sound insulation or acoustic insulation absorbs the frequencies transmitted by sound waves and prevents unwanted noise and vibration.
- Sound proofing refers to the methods used to reduce the intensity of sound.
- Soundproofing materials are used to control or reduce the amount of noise in a given environment by blocking the sound from entering or leaving the space.
A-Weighting – The filtering system in a sound meter that allows the meter to disregard lower frequency.
Absorption Coefficient – The ratio of the sound absorbed to the sound incident on the material or device.
Acoustical Analysis – A determination of the level of reverberation or reflected sound in the space for which the building materials are a factor. Acoustical analyses also determine how much acoustical absorption is needed to reduce reverberation and unwanted noise.
Acoustical Material – The material used to change a sound field by absorbing, damping or blocking acoustical energy.
Acoustics – The science of sound, which includes its creation, transmission and effects.
Airborne Noise – The uninterrupted transmission of noise into the atmosphere. Airborne noise can be controlled by absorption or by being blocked.
Ambient Noise – The sounds within a given environment from many different sources.
Anechoic Room – A test chamber lined with absorbent acoustical material used to eliminate sound reflections and to determine the sound radiation characteristics of equipment.
Bel – A unit of measurement referring to sound intensity. One bel equals 10 decibels.
Damping – The process of dissipating mechanical vibratory energy into heat. Damping materials are used to apply to vibrating surfaces in order to reduce the noise radiating from that surface.
Decay Rate – The rate at which sound will fade when the noise source is removed, expressed in dB/sec.
Decibel (dB) – A unit of measurement referring to sound intensity that is equal to one tenth of a Bel.
Dissipative Silencer – A device inserted into air ducts or openings that reduces the noise transmitted through the ducts or openings. Noise reduction is accomplished by using internal sound absorbing materials.
Flanking – The pathway along which sound travels around the perimeter or through holes within partitions or barriers erected to reduce the sound isolation between areas. Examples of flanking paths include ductwork, piping, back-to-back electrical boxes within partitions, window mullions, etc.
Free Field – Sound from an outdoor source where no obstructions exist.
Hearing Threshold (HTL Level) – Amount in decibels that a specified signal can exceed to cause damage to the ears of a listener.
Hertz (Hz) – Sound frequency expressed by cycles per second.
Insertion Loss – The reduction of sound power levels reached by inserting a muffler or silencer in an acoustic transmission system.
Live End/Dead End – An acoustical treatment plan for enclosed areas in which one end is highly absorbent while the other is reflective and diffusive.
Loudness – The strength of the physical resonance of a sound to sound pressure and intensity, as experienced by a listener.
Noise – A term referring to a sound of any kind, usually in reference to unintelligible or unwanted sound.
Noise Criteria (NC) – Sometimes referred to as “dBA levels,” it is used to assess listening conditions at ear level by gauging sound levels at loudest locations in a room.
Octave Band (OB) – A range of frequencies where the highest frequency of the band is double the lowest frequency of the band.
Radiation – The process in which structure-borne vibrations are converted into airborne sound.
Reverberation – Sound waves that continue to bounce off surfaces after the source ends, until the sound waves lose energy and eventually die out.
Reverberation Room – A test chamber designed so that the reverberant sound field within the room has an intensity that should be the same in every direction and at every point. It is often used to measure transmission loss and sound absorption.
Sabin – The unit of measure used for sound absorption consisting of the number of square feet of sound absorbing material multiplied by the material absorption coefficient.
Septum – A thin layer of material sandwiched between two layers of absorptive material that prevents sound waves from passing through the absorptive material.
Sound – Pressure waves traveling through the air or in other elastic materials.
Sound Absorption – The acoustical process in which sound energy is dispelled as heat rather than reflected back to the environment as sound.
Sound Level Meter – An instrument used to measure sound pressure levels. Type 1 are precision instruments, whereas Type 2 are general purpose instruments.
Sound Power Level (Lw) – A measure of the total airborne acoustic power created by any noise source; it is expressed on a decibel scale referenced to a usual standard of 10-12 watts.
Sound Pressure Level (Lp) – A measure of air pressure changes caused by a sound wave and expressed on a decibel scale referenced to 20µ Pa.
Soundproofing – Creating an area insulated against noise.
Structure Borne Noise – The transmission of energy from vibrating structures or solids into noise.
Vibrations – Like those with structure borne noise, they are the wavering of a boundary that defines the motion of a mechanical system and can be reduced by isolators or damping.
Volume – Cubic area of a space calculated by the length x width x height of the space. Volume influences reverberation time.
Wavelength – Wavelike compressions and rarefaction produced by sound passing through air. Sound waves vary with frequency.