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Noise Reduction Coefficient
How much sound an acoustic product can absorb.
Ceiling Attenuation Class
A ceilings efficiency to absorb sound transmission between adjacent closed spaces.
Sound Transmission Class
The sound reduction from one side of a barrier to the other side.
Acoustics affect critical aspects of a building’s function, from productivity in office settings and performance quality in theaters and auditoriums, to the price an apartment, condominium or single-family house can command. Understanding how to select a combination of building materials, system designs and construction technologies that will provide the most appropriate sound control is key to creating a successful acoustical design.
Sound is transmitted in a wave motion as an elastic medium produced by a vibrating object. The vibrations move the particles of the medium (such as air) adjacent to it, back and forth, creating an alternate compression and rarefaction of the medium. These disturbances move away from the source in a wave motion, much as a ripple moves along the surface of water when a stone is dropped in. The more elastic a substance, the better it can conduct sound. Lead, for instance, is very inelastic and therefore a poor sound conductor. Steel, on the other hand, is highly elastic, making it an excellent conductor of sound.
Sound travels not only in a straight path from its source but also bounces off partitions, bends around barriers and squeezes through small openings, all of which can allow noise to reach surprisingly far beyond its point of origin. Designers must consider the dynamics of sound when determining how they will control noise within a building.
The basic mechanisms involved in noise control for buildings are sound absorption and sound transmission. Sound absorption is necessary to reduce the reverberation, or echo, in a space to help improve clarity of speech and reduce excessive noise within a room. Sound transmission, either airborne or structural, must be reduced to prevent sound from travelling between two spaces.
Great design takes into account other critical details such as: sound in theaters, public spaces, museums, churches and schools where we live, work and play. It can enhance or inhibit human interactions, learning and healing. Understanding sound and how it’s most typically measured is critical.