Acoustic curtains are heavy duty drapes or linen panels made of
specially designed materials that prevent noise from moving between
spaces. Also known as sound absorbing curtains, acoustical blankets, or
noise control curtains, this type of drapery is used in industrial,
commercial and even residential environments. Acoustic curtains are used
in virtually all settings where the goal is to control and reduce the
level of noise pollution.
An effective means of soundproofing, acoustic curtains can reduce sound transmission up to 29 decibels depending upon the materials and applications used. Noise reduction of this kind is used in settings such as theatres, to enclose loud industrial equipment, churches, concert halls, restaurants, office spaces, exterior and interior applications and waste water treatment facilities. Hospitals also use these to ensure patient privacy and comfort, reducing the noise of necessary equipment. This variety necessitates that acoustic curtains be available not only in commercial form, but often custom designs are warranted. Sewing contractors are often hired to custom design these curtains in both industrial and residential settings. Industrial custom designs must be made to fit specific machinery while residential designs are more often customized for aesthetic value which is not difficult as many options resemble typical lined linens. Acoustic curtains often have the added benefit of working as thermal barriers, blocking energy and light, and also air filters as the heavy duty fabrication captures many harmful volatile organic compounds present particularly around industrial equipment.
While the specific construction varies between manufacturers, acoustic curtains are general sewn together. Layers of multiple or a single material are sewn together, often with weights at the bottom hem to resist movement that might allow for noise to escape. Quilted designs are often used to reinforce the materials, making the panels between one and four inches thick. Common materials include flexible mass loaded vinyl, polyvinylchloride, wool, suede, fiberglass composites and aluminized fabric. These soundproofing materials can be used in many combinations depending on specific needs. Wool fabric is naturally fire retardant and along with other heat resistant materials and coatings is often used around industrial machinery where a great deal of heat may be generated. Water and chemical resistant materials and finishes are also used in many instances. Installation can vary for specific applications and curtains may be hung from vertical uprights, attached to frames, suspended from the ceilings or on curtain tracks. The frames, braces and tracks are often made of brass or galvanized steel. Grommets, loops and Velcro are sewn into the design of a given curtain as a means of attaching it to the frame. These many options allow acoustic curtains to offer a cost effective and efficient means of soundproofing in commercial, industrial and home environments.