Sound insulation, also known as acoustic insulation, is used for
blocking unwanted or high levels of noise in certain spaces. Used in
most recently constructed building interiors, sound insulation can take
many forms but its main purpose is to absorb sound waves and energy so
that it does not travel through a surface, or reverberate back into a
space as noise pollution.
In buildings such as theaters, music and performance halls, recording studios, open plan offices and manufacturing facilities, noise can prove to be a disturbing, and often hazardous, factor. Therefore, controlling the levels of noise with sound insulation, as well as restricting it spreading further is an important feature of a building’s design. In conventional buildings, the noise transmitting through a wall or floor, which is energy, vibrates through any common surface including brick, concrete and drywall. Hard or flat surfaces transmit sounds and noise effectively and due to the rigid nature of buildings means that sounds, both airborne and structural, can travel further than might be anticipated. In buildings such as residential or office multi-storey buildings, or medical facilities and libraries etc where unwanted sounds could disrupt activities, sound insulation is important. There are a variety of soundproofing materials that can be used for sound insulation including: fiberglass, foam, rubber, aluminum composite, glass wool & polyethylene. Because of the flexible nature of these materials, they can be attached to any surface in any environment.
Acoustical insulation is designed and works similarly to soundproofing methods such as acoustic foam: it absorbs the frequencies transmitted by sound waves. Though sound insulation has the same general outcome of absorbing sound waves, different types of sound insulation achieve this in ways designed to meet different applications such as acoustic curtains, ceilings, floors and panels. For example, mineral wool has unique physical and chemical properties which are major factors in the utility of the material. The fibers in the wool are non-combustible and have melting temperatures in excess of 1800-2000 Fahrenheit. This is an important component of mineral wool, since the sound waves are converted to heat as it vibrates. Mineral wool acts as a sound insulator when sound waves passing through mineral wool are continually being broken up by the individual fibers. Another very effective form of sound insulation is dB-Bloc. This insulator is a thin mass loaded vinyl sound barrier material, designed to layer behind drywall and other finished wall or ceiling surfaces. The material combats against the bleed of noise transmitting through a common surface. Other acoustic insulation materials in similar applications include foam, fiberglass and rubber.
Image Provided by Eckel Noise Control Technologies