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INTRODUCTION

ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS
CAN BE DEFINED AS THE GENERATION, PROPAGATION AND TRANSMISSION OF
SOUND IN ROOMS, DWELLINGS AND OTHER BUILDINGS.

ALTHOUGH A RELATIVELY NEW SCIENCE, ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS PERMEATES


EVERY WALK OF MODERN LIFE. CORRECT APPLICATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLES OF
ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS CAN IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE AT WORK, DURING
LEISURE TIME OR BEING AT HOME.

SOME SOUNDS ARE DESIRABLE AND NEED TO BE ENHANCED OR EMPHASIZED,


OTHER SOUNDS ARE UNDESIRABLE WHICH IS KNOWN AS NOISE, AND NEED TO BE
REDUCED OR PREVENTED.

1. S O U N D

1.1 NATURE OF SOUND


SOUND CAN BE DESCRIBED AS A DISTURBANCE OR TURBULENCE WHICH PASSES
THROUGH A PHYSICAL MEDIUM IN THE FORM OF LONGITUDINAL WAVES FROM A
SOURCE TO A RECEIVER CAUSING A SENSATION OF HEARING.

SOUND IS REFLECTED, TRANSMITTED, OR ABSORBED BY THE


MATERIALS IT ENCOUNTERS
SOFT SURFACES SUCH AS TEXTILES, AND BAT INSULATION TEND TO
ABSORB SOUND WAVES, PREVENTING THEM FROM FURTHER
MOTION.
HARD SURFACES SUCH AS CERAMIC TILE, GYPSUM BOARD, OR
WOOD TEND TO REFLECT SOUND WAVES CAUSING
REVERBERATION.
DENSE, MASSIVE MATERIALS SUCH AS CONCRETE OR BRICK TEND
TO TRANSMIT SOUND WAVES THROUGH THE MATERIAL.
HIGH FREQUENCY SOUND WAVES ARE NOT CAPABLE OF BEING
TRANSMITTED THROUGH MASSIVE, HEAVY METAL.
LOW FREQUENCY SOUND WAVES ARE TRANSMITTED THROUGH
MASSIVE MATERIALS.

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1.2 BEHAVIOR OF SOUND IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE
AN ENCLOSED SPACE IS A ROOM OR AREA BONDED ON EVERY OF ITS SIDES. THE
MATERIALS FOR ENCLOSURE MAY BE INTO TWO:

THOSE THAT ALLOW SOUND RAYS TO PASS THROUGH AND;


THOSE THAT DO NOT ALLOW SOUND RAYS TO PASS THROUGH

ON ENCOUNTERING BARRIERS POSED BY THE ENCLOSURE, SOUND WAVES ARE


LIKELY TO BEHAVE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

REFLECTION
ABSORPTION
REFRACTION
DIFFUSION
DIFRACTION
TRANSMISSION

REFLECTION
THIS OCCURS WHEN THE WAVELENGTH OF A SOUND WAVE IS SMALLER THAN THE
SURFACE OF THE OBSTACLE. IN THE CASE OF AN ENCLOSED SPACE, THE SOUND
WAVES HIT EVERY SIDE OF THE ENCLOSURE CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL THE SOUND
ENERGY REDUCES TO ZERO. THE AMOUNT OF WAVES REFLECTED DEPENDS ON THE
SMOOTHNESS, SIZE, AND SOFTNESS OF THE MATERIALS OF ENCLOSURE.

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ABSORPTION
WHEN SOUND WAVES HIT THE SURFACE OF AN OBSTACLE, SOME OF ITS ENERGY IS
REFLECTED, WHILE SOME ARE LOST THROUGH ITS TRANSFER THROUGH TO THE
MOLECULES OF THE BARRIER. THE LOST SOUND ENERGY IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN
ABSORBED BY THE BARRIER. THE THIKNESS AND NATURE OF THE MATERIAL AS
REGARDS IT SOFTNESS AND HARDNESS, INFLUENCES THE AMOUNT OF SOUND
ENERGY ABSORBED.

REFRACTION
THIS IS THE BENDING OF SOUND WHEN IT TRAVELS FROM ONE MEDIUM INTO
ANOTHER MEDIUM. THE DIFFERENCE IN THE COMPOSITION OF THE TWO DIFFERENT
MEDIA BENDS THE SOUND.

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DIFFUSION
THIS IS THE SCATTERING OF WAVES FROM A SURFACE. IT OCCURS AS A RESULT OF
THE TEXTURE AND HARDNESS OF THE OBSTACLES IS COMPARABLE TO THE
WAVELENGTH OF THE SOUND. THE DIRECTION OF THE INCIDENT RAY CHANGES
WHEN IT STRIKES THE OBJECT OF THE OBSTACLE.

DIFFRACTION
WHEN THE WAVELENGTH OF A SOUNDWAVE IS SMALLER OR EQUAL TO THE SIZE
OF THE OBSTACLE, THE SOUND RAYS TEND TO BEND ROUND THE EDGE OF THE
OBSTACLE, THEREBY TURNING THE EDGE INTO A SOUND SOURCE.

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TRANSMISSION
IN THIS PHENOMENON, SOUND WAVE IS CARRIED BY MOLECULES OF THE
OBSTACLE THROUGH VIBRATION, AND RE-EMITTED AT THE OTHER SIDE
IRRESPECTIVE OF THE MEDIUM.

1.3 SOUND INTENSITY AND SOUND POWER


THE ENERGY TRANSPORT RELATED TO A SOUND WAVE CAN BE DESCRIBED BY
THE SOUND INTENSITY. THE INTENSITY INDICATES THE AMOUNT OF SOUND
ENERGY PER UNIT TIME OR SOUND POWER THAT PASSES
THROUGH AN ORTHOGONAL UNIT AREA. THE SOUND INTENSITY IS A VECTOR AND
POINTS IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS
THE SOUND PARTICLE VELOCITY. THE ABSOLUTE VALUE EQUALS THE PRODUCT
OF SOUND PRESSURE AND SOUND PARTICLE
VELOCITY (TAKING INTO ACCOUNT A POSSIBLE PHASE SHIFT).

I = PV [W/M2]
THE BAR IN EQ. 1.3 INDICATES AVERAGING IN TIME. IN THE VICINITY OF SOUND
SOURCES OR REFLECTORS THERE IS
USUALLY A PHASE SHIFT BETWEEN P AND V. IN EXTREME CASES THIS CAN LEAD
TO LOW INTENSITY VALUES ALTHOUGH
SOUND PRESSURE AND SOUND PARTICLE VELOCITY HAVE BOTH HIGH
AMPLITUDES. THE PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION IS

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THAT AIR MOVES BACK AND FORTH WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT COMPRESSION. IN
OTHER WORDS THERE IS A LOT OF REACTIVE
POWER BUT ONLY LITTLE EFFECTIVE POWER.

THE SOUND POWER OF TYPICAL SOURCES IS VERY SMALL AS SHOWN IN THE


TABLE
SOUND POWER [W]

HUMAN VOICE, NORMAL 7106

HUMAN VOICE, MAX. 2103

VIOLIN, FORTISSIMO 1103

HI-FI LOUDSPEAKER (10 W EL.) 0.1


JACKHAMMER 1
ORGAN, FORTISSIMO 10
ORCHESTRA (75 PERSONS) 70
AIRPLANE BOEING 747 6000
AIRPLANE FA-18 200000

1.4 FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE BEHAVIOR OF SOUND IN AN ENCLOSED


SPACE
REDUCTION IN ITS INTENSITY OF SOUND- RESULTS DUE TO THE DISTANCE
BETWEEN ITS SOURCE AND THE RECEIVER.

ABSORPTION OF DIRECT SOUND BY THE AUDIENCE- THE LISTENERS OF THE


SOUND ABSORB SOME OF THE SOUND IN THE PROCESS OF HEARING.

ABSORPTION OF DIRECT AND REFLECTED SOUND BY SURFACES- THE WALLS,


CEILING AND FLOOR OF THE ENCLOSED SPACE ABSORBS AND REFLECTS
SOUNDWAVES THEREFORE CONTROLLING THE WAY SOUND BEHAVES.

REFLECTION OF SOUND FROM RIGHT-ANGLED CORNERS- SOUND INCIDENT


TO A RIGHT ANGLED CORNER OF A ROOM WILL BE REFLECTED BACK
TOWARDS THE SOURCE IF SURFACES ARE ACOUSTICALLY REFLECTIVE. THIS
IN TURN CAN PRODUCE ECHOES ESPECIALLY IN LARGE AREAS.

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DISPERSION OF THE SIDES OF AN ENCLOSURE- REFLECTIONS CAN BE
CONTROLLED BY MAKING ONE SURFACE DISPERSIVE.

EDGE DIFFRACTION OF SOUND- EDGE DIFFRACTION RESULTS IN THE


CURVATURE OF PART OF A SOUND WAVE AROUND THE EDGE OF A BARRIER.
THIS CAUSES THE OBSTACLES TO SCATTER THE SOUND WAVES MAKING IT
BEHAVE LIKE A SOURCE OF SOUND.

SOUND SHADOW- ANY BARRIER INTERRUPTING A SOUND WAVE WILL CREATE


A SHADOW, SYNONYMOUS TO LIGHT RAYS. HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF EDGE
DIFFRACTION SOME SOUND WILL CREEP INTO THIS BUT SUCH PENETRATION
IS FREQUENCY DEPENDENT - HIGH FREQUENCIES ARE LESS DIFFRACTED
THAN LOW FREQUENCIES. SUCH PROBLEMS CAN OCCUR IN AUDITORIUM WITH
BALCONIES.

PRIMARY REFLECTION- THIS DEPENDS ON THE ANGLE OF INCIDENCE WHICH


IS EQUAL TO THE ANGLE OF REFLECTION. ALSO, THE NATURE OF SOUND
REFLECTOR IS IMPORTANT.

PANEL RESONANCE- SOUND WAVES CAN PROPAGATE "THROUGH" A SOLID


MATERIAL BY PANEL VIBRATION. THE SOUND DOES NOT ACTUALLY
PENETRATE THE MATERIAL BUT RATHER CAUSES THIS TO VIBRATE AND ACT
AS A SOUND SOURCE ITSELF. THE PANEL WILL BE VIBRATED BY BOTH DIRECT
AND REFLECTED SOUND WAVES.

2. A CO U S T I C A L M AT E R I A L S

TYPES OF MATERIALS:
SOUND ABSORBERS
SOUND DIFFUSERS
NOISE BARRIERS
SOUND REFLECTORS

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2.1 SOUND ABSORBERS
These sound absorbing acoustical panels and soundproofing materials are used to eliminate
sound reflections to improve speech intelligibility, reduce standing waves and prevent comb
filtering.
Typical materials are open cell polyurethane foam, cellular melamine, fiberglass, fluffy fabrics
and other porous materials. A wide variety of materials can be applied to walls and ceilings
depending on your application and environment.
These materials vary in thickness and in shape to achieve different absorption ratings
depending on the specific sound requirements.

TYPES:
ACOUSTICAL FOAM PANELS
WHITE PAINTABLE ACOUSTICAL WALL PANELS
FABRIC WRAPPED PANELS
ACOUSTICAL WALL COVERINGS
CEILING TILES
BAFFLES AND BANNERS

ACOUSTICAL FOAM PANELS

THESE ACOUSTICAL FOAM SOUND ABSORBERS ARE USED IN A WIDE VARIETY


OF APPLICATIONS RANGING FROM RECORDING AND BROADCAST STUDIOS TO
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES. AVAILABLE IN POLYURETHANE OR
IN A CLASS 1 FIRE RATED FOAM. THESE PRODUCTS CAN BE APPLIED
DIRECTLY TO WALLS, HUNG AS BAFFLES OR USED AS FREESTANDING
ABSORBERS.

STACKABLE FOAM
DESIGN ENABLES YOU TO
INCREASE THICKNESS
QUICKLY BY NESTING LAYERS

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FIRE RATED FOAM
ABSORBERS ARE LIGHTWEIGHT OPEN CELL FOAMS
USED WHEN A CLASS 1 FIRE RATED FOAM IS
REQUIRED. STANDARD PATTERNS INCLUDE
WEDGE, PYRAMID, MAX WEDGE, CEILING BAFFLES
AND MORE. THESE CAN EASILY MOUNT TO WALLS
OR CEILINGS

WHITE PAINTABLE PANELS

IT IS A WHITE ACOUSTICAL WALL PANEL WITH A SOFT TEXTURED


APPEARANCE. THE TWO FOOT BY ONE FOOT DIMENSION PROVIDES
INSTALLERS FLEXIBILITY TO MOUNT ACOUSTICAL PANELS AROUND EXISTING
OBJECTS. IN ADDITION TO REDUCING ECHO AND REVERBERATION, THESE
ACOUSTICAL PANELS ARE USED TO CREATE UNIQUE DESIGNS AND PATTERNS.
THE GLASS FIBER CORE IS FACED WITH A PAINTABLE COVERING. THIS
ALLOWS YOU TO MATCH OR COMPLEMENT EXISTING WALL COLORS BY
APPLYING A LIGHT COAT OF FLAT OR MATTE SPRAY PAINT. TO CUSTOMIZE
THE LOOK EVEN FURTHER, MANY LOCAL PRINTING COMPANIES NOW HAVE
THE CAPABILITY TO PRODUCE AN IMAGE DIRECTLY TO THE FACE OF THESE
PANELS.

QUICK & EASY ACOUSTICAL SOLUTION


SOFT DRYWALL TEXTURE APPEARANCE
CREATE UNIQUE PATTERNS
PANEL SIZE ALLOWS FOR FLEXIBLE MOUNTING OPTIONS
PAINTABLE & PRINTABLE FINISH

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FABRIC WRAPPED PANELS

ACOUSTICAL SOUND PANELS UTILIZE 6-7 PCF GLASS FIBER MATERIAL FOR
MAXIMUM ABSORPTION. AVAILABLE AS WALL PANELS, CEILING
TILES, HANGING BAFFLES, ACOUSTICAL CLOUDS AND BASS TRAPS, WITH
MORE THAN 50 STANDARD COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM, THESE MATERIALS
WILL LOOK AS GOOD AS THEY SOUND. THE STANDARD SIZES AND
CONFIGURATIONS BEST MAXIMIZE RAW MATERIALS, HOWEVER, MANY OF
THESE PRODUCTS CAN BE CUSTOMIZED TO MEET SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
SHOULD YOU NEED MATERIAL SIZED TO FIT OR OTHER FINISHES OR
COVERINGS.

WALL PANELS
USED TO REDUCE ECHO AND REVERBERATION IN
APPLICATIONS, SMALL AND LARGE. THESE PANELS ARE
MANUFACTURED FROM A RIGID HIGH DENSITY (6-7 PCF)
GLASS FIBER ACOUSTICAL BOARD AND COVERED WITH
AN ACOUSTICALLY TRANSPARENT FABRIC.

CEILING TILES
CEILING TILES ARE AN EXCELLENT CHOICE FOR MANY
CEILING GRID APPLICATIONS REQUIRING HIGH
ABSORPTION.

WALL COVERINGS

ACOUSTICAL WALL FABRIC IS A DIMENSIONAL FABRIC THAT OFFERS


EXCELLENT ACOUSTICAL PROPERTIES, UNMATCHED FADE RESISTANCE, AND
A FIRE/SMOKE RETARDANT CLASS A RATING. SOUND CHANNELS IS RESISTANT
TO MOISTURE, MILDEW, ROT, BACTERIA, AND IS NON-
ALLERGENIC. PRODUCED WITH NO VOCS (VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS),
ODSS (OZONE DEPLETING SUBSTANCES), HEAVY METALS OR
FORMALDEHYDE, IT'S THE PERFECT ACOUSTIC FABRIC FOR OFFICES,
CLASSROOMS, CONFERENCE CENTERS OR ANY AREA WHERE SPEECH
INTELLIGIBILITY IS A CRITICAL FACTOR.

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CEILING TILES

CEILING TILES ABSORB NOISE AND BLOCK SOUND TRANSMISSION. THESE


CEILING TILES ARE DESIGNED TO FIT INTO EXISTING 2' X 2' SUSPENDED DROP
TILE CEILING GRID SYSTEMS. THEY MAY ALSO RETROFIT IN A 2' X 4' CEILING
GRID BY INSTALLING CROSS TEES. CLOUDSCAPE CEILING TILES MAY ALSO
BE ORDERED AS A FULL 24" X 24" SIZE, UN-BACKED FOR ADHESIVE MOUNTING
DIRECTLY TO WALLS OR CEILINGS.

ORDINARY CEILINGS TAKE ON NEW LEVELS OF VISUAL EXCITEMENT WITH


THESE SCULPTURED TILES. THEY ARE AVAILABLE IN FIVE DIFFERENT
PATTERNS PLUS A NON-PATTERNED LOOK TO ENABLE YOU TO "MIX AND
MATCH" FOR YOUR OWN DESIGNS.

BAFFLES AND BANNERS

BAFFLES AND BANNERS ARE DESIGNED TO SOLVE ACOUSTICAL PROBLEMS


ECONOMICALLY IN ANY LARGE CUBIC VOLUME SPACE SUCH AS ARENAS,
GYMNASIUMS, THEATERS, RESTAURANTS, AND AUDITORIUMS.
REVERBERATION TIMES THAT RANGE FROM 4 TO 9 SECONDS CAN BE
REDUCED TO 1/2 TO 2 SECONDS. SPEECH INTELLIGIBILITY IS GREATLY
IMPROVED AND SOUND INTENSITY LEVELS ARE REDUCED SIMULTANEOUSLY
BY 3 TO 12 DECIBELS.

BAFFLES
Baffles are an economical way to reduce sound
pressure levels and lower reverberation times in large
spaces such as gymnasiums, theaters, restaurants,
health and fitness clubs, etc. Reverberation times can
be lowered from a RT60 of 4 - 9 seconds down to a
RT60 of 0.5 - 2 seconds. Speech intelligibility is
greatly improved and sound intensity levels can
be simultaneously reduced by 3 to 12 decibels.

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BANNERS
Speech intelligibility is greatly improved and
sound intensity levels can be simultaneously
reduced by 3 to 12 decibels.
Banners are suspended from ceilings, bar joists
or pre-engineered suspension systems. They
are designed to hang in a horizontal or in a
catenary fashion using edge stiffeners or deck
mounted flat with washer plates

2.2 SOUND DIFFUSERS

THESE DEVICES REDUCE THE INTENSITY OF SOUND BY SCATTERING IT OVER


AN EXPANDED AREA, RATHER THAN ELIMINATING THE SOUND REFLECTIONS
AS AN ABSORBER WOULD. TRADITIONAL SPATIAL DIFFUSERS, SUCH AS THE
POLYCYLINDRICAL (BARREL) SHAPES ALSO DOUBLE AS LOW FREQUENCY
TRAPS. TEMPORAL DIFFUSERS, SUCH AS BINARY ARRAYS AND QUADRATICS,
SCATTER SOUND IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO DIFFRACTION OF LIGHT, WHERE
THE TIMING OF REFLECTIONS FROM AN UNEVEN SURFACE OF VARYING
DEPTHS CAUSES INTERFERENCE WHICH SPREADS THE SOUND.

QUADRA PYRAMID DIFFUSER


GENERATES A UNIFORM POLAR
RESPONSE OVER A BROAD FREQUENCY
RANGE USING A PRE-ROTATED
PYRAMIDAL PATTERN TO CREATE 16
ANGLES OF REFLECTION

DOUBLE DUTY DIFFUSER


THESE POLYCYLINDRICAL
DIFFUSERS DO TWICE THE WORK.
THEY SCATTER SOUND AND
FUNCTION AS A BASS TRAP.

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PYRAMIDAL DIFFUSER
THESE POLYCYLINDRICAL
DIFFUSERS DO TWICE THE WORK.
THEY SCATTER SOUND AND
FUNCTION AS A BASS TRAP.

QUADRATIC DIFFUSER
A TRUE QUADRATIC RESIDUE
DIFFUSER DESIGNED FOR
UNIFORM BROADBAND
SCATTERING AND REDUCING
HIGH-Q REFLECTIONS.

2.3 NOISE BARRIERS

THESE MATERIALS RANGE FROM DENSE MATERIALS TO BLOCK THE TRANSMISSION


OF AIRBORNE SOUND TO DEVICES AND COMPOUNDS USED TO ISOLATE
STRUCTURES FROM ONE ANOTHER AND REDUCE IMPACT NOISE.

BARRIERS
SOUND BARRIER MATERIALS ARE USED TO REDUCE THE TRANSMISSION OF
AIRBORNE SOUND. THE BLOCKAID SERIES OF PRODUCTS INCLUDE THE
STANDARD ONE POUND PER SQUARE FOOT NON REINFORCED BARRIER,
TRANSPARENT MATERIAL WHEN OBSERVATION OR SUPERVISION IS
REQUIRED, REINFORCED VINYL TO CREATE A HANGING BARRIER PARTITION.

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COMPOSITES
COMPOSITE MATERIALS ARE MANUFACTURED FROM COMBINATIONS OF
VARIOUS MATERIALS FROM OPEN AND CLOSED CELLED FOAMS TO QUILTED
FIBERGLASS AND BARRIER. THESE PRODUCTS ARE USED TO BLOCK AND
ABSORB SOUND FOR MACHINE ENCLOSURES AS WELL AS BLOCKING
AIRBORNE SOUND AND IMPACT NOISE. SOME OF THESE PRODUCTS INCLUDE
COMPOSITE FOAMS, STRATIQUILT BLANKETS AND FLOOR UNDERLAYMENT.

VIBRATION CONTROL
VIBRATION CONTROL PRODUCTS ARE USED TO ABSORB VIBRATION ENERGY
AND PREVENT STRUCTURAL NOISE TRANSMISSION. THESE INCLUDE
VIBRATION DAMPING COMPOUNDS AND VIBRATION PADS, ISOLATION
HANGERS, AND RESILIENT CLIPS. THEY IMPROVE SOUND TRANSMISSION
LOSS.

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