Sound absorption is the ability of a material to absorb sound. Sound-absorbing materials such as curtains and rugs are often used to reduce sound reflections and echoes, and can improve the sound quality of a room.
Sound-absorbing materials are useful on walls, facades and ceilings, as they also help to absorb sound in the cavity, and reduce noise through the building element. Effective
Sound absorbers in cavities are usually made of glass wool, rock wool, polyester fiber, natural wool or cellulose fiber. These materials are often used for both sound and heat insulation.
The ability of a surface material to reduce sound reflection (sound absorption) is not the same as its ability to control noise passing through to adjacent homes (sound insulation). It is important to make this distinction when choosing materials. Large mass, dense and well-sealed materials generally provide better sound insulation, but no sound absorption.
Sound insulation is the ability of a material to stop or reduce the transmission of airborne sound. External sound insulation refers to the material's ability to reduce sound transmission to or from a building. Good external sound insulation is important when designing and building the external elements of a building. This includes walls, windows, doors, ventilation and ceilings. Good acoustic design uses a combination of sound insulation and sound absorption.
Power insulation is the ability of a material or structure to stop noise generated by shocks. The reduction of noise level normally requires a decoupled or insulated construction e.g. a floating floor or a discontinuous wall.
When sound hits a building element, e.g. a wall or a window, some of the sound will be reflected by the element and some will pass through. The sound transmission loss is a measure of the ability of an element to reduce sound energy through it.
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