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Improving Acoustics in Shared Spaces with Sound Absorbing Materials

Sep 05, 2023Sep 05, 2023

Acoustical comfort is a critical element of interior design that should never be neglected, especially in shared spaces such as restaurants, convention centers, museums, sports halls, and many others. Good acoustics can contribute to the occupants' well-being and productivity, while poor acoustics can lead to stress, fatigue, and even hearing damage. This can occur due to external noise, from various sound sources, or impacts (such as footsteps, jumping or moving furniture), but also due to the reflection of sound waves inside the environment, generating echoes and reverberations and reducing the intelligibility of speech in space.

Understanding acoustical needs and making the proper selection of interior materials and elements is key to achieving good acoustics, as these influence how sound behaves within a room. For example, hard materials such as glass and concrete reflect sound, producing an uncomfortable and reverberant environment; while soft materials such as carpets, curtains and acoustic panels absorb much of the sound energy and reduce reverberation, creating a more acoustically comfortable environment.

One of the main ways to improve acoustics is through the use of sound absorbing materials. Usually made of porous, lightweight, flexible materials, they have the ability to dissipate sound energy and convert some of it into heat. Some examples of common sound absorbing materials include acoustic foams, rock wool, glass wool, porous wood panels, and textile materials such as felt and carpeting. However, there are also denser materials, such as perforated metal panels or acoustic membranes, which can be effective in certain situations. The important thing is to select the sound absorbing material best suited to the acoustical and aesthetic needs of the space in question. Such products are designed to reduce echo and reverberation in a space and can be customized to meet the needs and aesthetic preferences of any project. Besides being effective in reducing noise levels, they can also add a touch of sophistication or be a bold statement piece.

Acoustical Surfaces Inc. is a company specializing in custom sound and noise control solutions for various applications. It offers a wide range of sound absorption products, made from materials such as fiberglass, foam, metal, and composite materials. One of its products is Wood Wool Acoustic Panels, Envirocoustic™, designed to improve the acoustic properties of interiors by absorbing sound waves and reducing reverberation time.

Made of natural wood fibers mixed with cement, they are free of harmful chemicals and formaldehyde, and can be considered an environmentally friendly product. In addition, the bonding of wood wool and cement significantly increases the wood strands' resistance to expansion, rotting, water absorption and fire. The result is a material that is difficult to ignite and extremely durable for non-structural applications.

The panels' design flexibility and aesthetic appeal make them a suitable solution for a wide variety of projects. The panels come in various textures, colors, shapes and sizes, offering numerous design opportunities for any space and enhancing acoustic properties. For installation, they can either be glued or screwed into walls or ceilings. Choosing the right material to meet the acoustical and aesthetic needs of a space can be the key to creating a healthy, productive and pleasant indoor environment.

Learn more about Acoustical Surfaces in our product catalog.

Eduardo Souza