SOUND ABSORBING PANELS: INTRODUCTION
The sound absorbing panels are coatings made with the aim of obtaining the acoustic insulation of a room.
The goal of these materials is to limit the propagation of sound waves, which may be greater in the materials that constitute the walls of the walls also respect to the air, so that sound very strong that come from a wall are perceived as greater than what they actually are, in the absence of these panels.
When you want to limit, from both sides, the propagation of sound waves, both inwards and outwards (for a music recording room), soundproofing panels are the best solution to consider.
WHAT ARE THEY FOR?
The purpose of these products is to limit the reverberation of sound inside closed environments. In confined spaces, in fact, the noise that is perceived is greater than that actually produced, and also depends on the heights of the walls, the materials in which they are made and the size of the room.
This creates significant noise pollution. The sound-absorbing panels therefore serve precisely to absorb and cushion sounds by limiting the intensity of perceived noises.
The soundproofing panels are the ideal solution for those who live in very noisy urban areas, or for offices located in central areas of the city, as noise disturbs and compromises worker performance.
From a physical point of view, sound waves are oscillations that propagate through matter. In particular, sound is a thickening and sudden rarefaction of the atoms present in the material in which it propagates, and these variations can be perceived by our ears. In the absence of atoms, for example in space, we do not have the propagation of sounds.
A material absorbs a sound by virtue of its porosity. The air inside the material is vibrated by contact with the sound wave and converts its energy into heat.
In fact, it is put into vibration with contact with the sound wave and converts its energy into heat. Another decisive factor is the acoustic transparency, determined by the amount of air that a material is able to absorb during the sound vibration process; the greater the quantity, the greater the absorption capacity
When a sound meets a material other than air, the sound wave is partly reflected, partly transmitted and absorbed.
The material is very important from this point of view, because for example a sheet of paper will completely transmit the sound wave by absorbing a very small part, while a thick concrete wall will absorb and reflect most of the wave by transmitting little.
What is interesting in the sound-absorbing panels is precisely the absorption, or the fact that the sound is neither reflected nor transmitted. The absorption mechanisms, taken from the panels, are three:
- by porosity: in this case the panel is made up of a series of pores, in which the vibrating air remains trapped and the vibrations are discharged onto the material around it in the form of heat, dissipating the sound.
- by membrane resonance: it is a type of absorption in which the energy of the sound wave is neutralized by the fact that the panel has the ability to oscillate. This oscillation holds the sound wave and prevents its transmission.
- by cavity resonance: the sound arrives in a cavity and is reflected there, but part of the energy is absorbed. The part that resonates still remains in the cavity, being absorbed again until the sound completely dissipates.
Usually, these absorption techniques are used simultaneously in the sound-absorbing panels to improve the effect.
Ultimately, it can be said that a sound-absorbing panel is built with a material that has a high porosity and at least sufficient acoustic resistance.
SOUND ABSORBING VS SOUND INSULATING
The distinction between sound absorbing material is very important and the soundproof: the first absorbs the sound, while the soundproofing material does not absorb it, but reflects it and makes it go back as if it were a barrier.
While to be sound absorbing are usually panels in their own right, the building structure is usually soundproofing, who has to do so that the sounds do not propagate from one side of the wall to the other. A very common soundproofing is cement, then we find panels acoustic insulators made with galvanized steel or the rarer lead or aluminum.
With the combination of both, the sound-absorbing panel will have fewer sounds to absorb (first blocked by the soundproofing panel), and the final result will be better.
The applications of acoustic panels are many, and for each use they are chosen different panels. Among the most popular applications we can find:
- Acoustic insulation of floors: it is used to not make noise to people who are on the upper floor, for example in the case of a bar under an apartment building.
- The acoustic insulation of the walls: it is used to prevent the noise of two adjacent rooms from being heard, or to prevent external noises from being heard. For some structures they are particularly important, for example for music recording rooms.
- Acoustic insulation of ceilings: has the purpose of isolating the noises that come from the upper floors, such as the footsteps of other tenants or the noises coming from the roof.
- Interior acoustic insulation: usually done in the external wall of the building, and is used to prevent external noise from being heard, or to soundproof small buildings and prevent sound from spreading outside.
SOUND ABSORBING PANELS: MATERIALS
Below we will analyze the existing types of sound-absorbing panels, trying to understand what are the positive sides and the negative sides of every material used to build them.
SOUND ABSORBING PANELS IN FABRIC
These are particularly light panels, that guarantee less insulation but can be customized a lot, both in shape and size, and they are also suitable for “dangerous” points” such as ceilings (in fact they usually have this type of use).
The panel internally has a fabric, whose fibers are irregular and distant from each other, which has the purpose of guaranteeing the absorption of sounds, cthat it will be all the stronger the greater it is the panel thickness.
They are not the best in results, but they are chosen in situations where too heavy materials cannot be used.
SOUND ABSORBING PANELS IN METAL
Available in both steel and aluminum, they are metal panels with a series of holes that are intended to absorb the sounds; the size of the holes, and their frequency, determine the absorption for cavity resonance.
They are very heavy and constitute the external structure of the panel, which usually contains other materials inside for amplify the absorption effect.
WOOD ABSORBING PANELS
The structure is very similar to that of the metal sound-absorbing panels, and also the principle of operation; what changes is clearly the material.
They are used in situations where metal is excessively heavy, and for special jobs because of the majority simplicity of woodworking.
SOUND ABSORBING PANELS IN EXPANDED SYNTHETIC MATERIALS
It is the most common type of sound-absorbing panels, even if from the aesthetic point of view it is not the best; are those used, for example, in recording rooms. They are simple to work with and are not heavy, they can be colored and are extremely customizable thanks to the construction material.
SOUND ABSORBING PANELS: HOW ARE THEY MADE INSIDE?
The sound absorbing panels we talked about they are those that constitute the external part of the panel. Inside, however, they are present other absorbent materials to exploit more than one type of absorption among those of which we spoke before.
GLASS WOOL AND ROCK WOOL
These are filaments deriving from glass, or from the rock, very thin, which exploit the absorption by porosity, that is the heat dissipation thanks to their chemical structure.
Light and sold in rolls, they are suitable for all types of situation and constitute the interior of the fabric panels but also of other types of panel.
CORK AND WOODEN CHIPBOARD
They are natural and rather light solutions, with a capacity similar to that of stone wool but less comfortable to use, because they can’t be folded (the chipboard is pressed into the panel).
It is the most famous and widespread among absorbent materials, and it can be smooth, perforated or pyramid-shaped according to the uses.
It is formed from a polyurethane foam, therefore is particularly easy to work with, and if there is a need to insert it in points rather tight it can be blown when it is still in the form of foam.
It is one of the most versatile materials, and can be used alone or inside the other panels.
OTHER ABSORBENT MATERIALS
Other expanded absorbent materials are melamine, vermiculite, perlite, clay, polyethylene and polystyrene (polystyrene); the characteristics are similar to those of poluirethane, the possibility of expansion changes which makes the individual materials suitable for different types of needs.
WHERE YOU CAN BUY THEM
Sound absorbing panels can be purchased in any building materials store. In this case, you can take advantage of the advice of an industry expert or a seller, who can provide advice on purchasing the most effective product according to your needs.
An alternative could be to turn to the various e-commerce sites online, or to large distribution chains. In this case, however, thus it is necessary to already have a clear and precise idea of the product you want to buy, or at least the characteristics it should have.
There are various types of panels and materials that can be used and each one, obviously, has its own price range, for example in:
- polyurethane or melamine foam (low thickness): from 7 to 10 euros per square meter;
- polyurethane foam or melamine (high thickness): from 10 to 70 euros per square meter;
- rock wool (low thickness): from 4 to 15 euros per square meter;
- rock wool (other thickness): from 15 to 60 euros per square meter;
- wood: from 60 to 90 euros per square meter.
HOW TO CHOOSE
The types and materials are numerous, so it is not at all easy to choose the soundproofing panel suitable for our needs.
If the main need is to reduce reverberation in contexts characterized by medium and high frequency sound waves, such as recording and radio studios, preference should be given to sound-absorbing panels made of rock wool or melamine foam. In this way, targeted absorption is obtained at a low cost.
If the sound waves, on the other hand, are low frequency, then the advice is to apply directly the resonant devices, which in this case are the unique to offer protection from glare.
If, on the other hand, the need is not functional but only aesthetic, then sound-absorbing panels in wood chipboard should be preferred. In fact, wood has a natural elegance.
HOW TO SAVE
Just like the product range, the price range also varies widely. Savings opportunities therefore exist. The advices are two, to this purpose.
Reasoning according to your needs. Only if you really know the own needs you will be able to choose the effective product, avoiding to spend more than fair for a product that boasts features that are simply useless.
Request more quotes and view more catalogs. The best way to buy a product with the best value for money is to proceed with a competitive analysis of prices and quotes. Once you have collected all the informations, you can proceed to the best possible purchase.
LEAVE A COMMENT
Sound-absorbing panels are an excellent solution to better manage noise and sound waves within your home and work environments. The great variety of models allows you to choose the panel that is perfectly adaptable to the customer’s needs and useful for any type of open space.
In addition, in the event that you intend to enter within yours spaces of sound-absorbing panels but you don’t know which material is the best to choose or the ideal location to fulfill your purposes, do not hesitate to leave a comment at the end of the article! We will reply as soon as possible!