Sound barriers are a method of noise reduction that provides a high density layer used to separate or prevent noise from entering a certain area or leaving a contained area. Often used in outdoor noise pollution control, sound barrier materials, such as flexible loaded vinyl, combine mass, flexibility, and limpness to form a barrier between the noise source and the controlled area.
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Applications of Sound Barriers
Sound barriers can be used inside buildings. Other common uses for barriers are bulkheads, firewall treatments, cab floors, and pipe wraps in large buildings or manufacturing facilities. Sound barriers are also effective for reducing roadway noise or various industrial noise sources and have many uses in recreational facilities, factories, and industrial settings. In one of their most common applications, sound barriers are designed as a set of tall wooden, plastic, or concrete barriers placed along a road or highway to muffle the sound of traffic.
Sound Barrier Design and Customization
As with other noise reduction solutions, sound barriers can be customized in terms of layout and aesthetics with cutouts, color options, and double-sided paneling. Most manufacturers will construct barriers to be at least as high as the line of sight between the source of the excessive noise and the receiver. Those barriers constructed as thin walls cannot be built too high due to structural stability and strength.
Traffic noise abatement is not necessarily required by law, and yet it improves the acoustical properties of an area, so it is worthwhile to install sound barriers when feasible. It is best for sound engineers to determine the most ideal barrier solution and set-up to meet the specifications of an application. Sound barriers are often combined with sound proofing materials to create highly effective noise control composites.
Materials Used in Sound Barriers
Depending on the material used to construct the barriers, they will absorb, reflect, or transmit the sound waves coming to them, thus reducing the noise to the residential or commercial areas behind the barriers and improving sound quality. Materials sound barriers are commonly constructed of include earth, wood, metal, concrete, and other similarly durable and dense materials. They do not completely block out or absorb sound, but they do greatly reduce noise levels, which is important, especially when highways and busy routes pass through residential areas. They can be formed from earth mounds, high constructed walls, or a combination of both.