How It Works: Science and Technology - Vol. 15

By Wendy Horobin | Go to book overview

Soundproofing

A cutaway model
of a double-glazing
installation. The space
between the panels of
glass is lined, on the
sides, with sound-
absorbing materials.

Soundproofing is concerned with the exclusion or reduction of sounds from a particular location. It might be an open-plan office or classroom, a room in a home or a factory, or the interior of a motor vehicle or ship.

When soundproofing is needed, three factors must be considered. The first is the source of the sound, its location, and power output. A second consideration is the path the sound takes to a listener. If the sound is airborne, it is called noise, and if it is propagated through material—for example, walls or flooring—it is referred to as vibration. Last, the effect of the various levels of sound on humans must be estimated in order to set tolerable levels—when sound pollution exceeds these levels, sleep loss, hearing loss, and stress-related illnesses may result.


Architecture

In the design of residential and commercial buildings, provision is made to minimize the transmission of unwanted sound between rooms. One way to do so is to make floors and walls thick and heavy, but this solution is expensive. Lighter panels have been developed that are very rigid, thus providing some sound insulation. Some panels are coated with viscoelastic materials, such as rubber or vinyl, which further damp the sound. Sometimes an air space of a few inches is provided between two adjacent panels. Some sound is always reflected back at the interface between two different materials. Further improvements in sound insulation can be provided by ensuring that even small gaps in a building structure are insulated and by using carpets and other soft materials on building interiors.

The same principles are used in windows for buildings. A single window pane of typical thickness (1/8 or 1/6 in., 3 or 4 mm) will reduce noise to about one-quarter loudness. If laminated glass is used, it will provide still more damping, and double glazing will cut the noise level by halt as much again as a single pane. Sometimes the edges of the air space between two panes are lined with a soft fibrous material, to further reduce the problems by absorbing vibration.

Open-plan office space represents a real economic advantage as well as design flexibility, and open-plan classrooms make possible new teaching methods, hut when such architectural space was first designed, noise levels proved to be a problem because of the way sound will travel along walls that are not interrupted by partitions. Movable partitions are now used to create acoustic environments, and soft, absorbent materials can be used in various places. Partitions and walls as well as floors can be covered with soft materials such as carpeting, felt, hessian, and so forth. The height and absorptive treatment of the ceilings are of great importance in controlling the direction and loudness of intruding sound. Absorbent ceiling tiles are widely used in building construction.

A soundproofing baffle
with glass beads. This
type of insulation is
used in the exhaust
system of an industrial
gas turbine driver.

-2140-

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How It Works: Science and Technology - Vol. 15
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • How It Works® Science and Technology 2017
  • Title Page 2019
  • Contents 2020
  • Salvage, Marine 2021
  • Satellite, Artificial 2024
  • Schlieren Techniques 2030
  • Screw Manufacture 2032
  • Seaplane and Amphibian 2035
  • Sea Rescue 2038
  • Security System 2042
  • Seismology 2046
  • Self-Righting Boat 2050
  • Semiconductor 2052
  • Servomechanism 2055
  • Sewing Machine 2058
  • Sextant 2062
  • Sheet Metal 2064
  • Ship 2067
  • Shutter 2074
  • Silicon 2076
  • Silicone 2078
  • Silver 2079
  • Sine Wave 2081
  • Siphon 2083
  • Ski and Snowboard 2084
  • Skin 2087
  • Skyscraper 2090
  • Slaughterhouse 2096
  • Sleep 2099
  • Smell and Taste 2103
  • Soap Manufacture 2107
  • Soft-Drink Dispenser 2109
  • Soil Research 2110
  • Solar Energy 2114
  • Solar System 2118
  • Solenoid 2124
  • Sonar 2126
  • Sorption 2129
  • Sound 2131
  • Sound Effects and Sampling 2136
  • Sound Mixing 2138
  • Soundproofing 2140
  • Sound Reproduction 2142
  • Soundtrack 2146
  • Space Debris 2150
  • Space Photography 2152
  • Space Probe 2156
  • Index i
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