Office Acoustic Improvement
Unwanted noise is a perennial problem in buildings. We spend a lot of time keeping out external noise from traffic, aircraft and other things with insulation and double or triple glazing, but internal noise can be a major issue too. Echo and reverberation of sound can lead to problems with difficulty in hearing speech and ultimately turn a space into a stressful environment both for visitors and for people who have to work there.
In buildings like schools, libraries and even factories, restaurants and retail stores, therefore, controlling internal noise levels is something that needs to be taken seriously. A solution that is proving to be increasingly popular is the use of acoustic panels.
So just what is an acoustic panel? They’re made of sound-absorbing material like foam or mineral wool contained between decorative outer panels which can be made of fabric, perforated metal or a variety of other substances.
The outer material can be chosen for its decorative value or to withstand the knocks and bashes of life in locations such as sports halls. The panels can be fixed to walls or ceilings to provide noise control along with a stylish architectural finish. A variety of finishes are available, so you can ensure that panels suit your decorative requirements.
Even with traditional acoustic ceiling panels there is room for creativity as with our project at SeaChange Printing in Plymouth. Here we printed directly onto the existing ceiling panels for an extra touch of color and brand affirmation.
When sound waves hit a solid surface, like a wall, they bounce back. In a large enclosed space this creates a reverberation or echo effect which is made worse the more solid surfaces there are for sound to bounce off – this is why places like concrete stairwells are particularly echo-prone.
What an acoustic panel does is to trap the sound waves and prevent them from echoing. It does this with a porous outer surface that allows the sound to penetrate and an inner core with foam or fibre that absorbs the sound. This works because the sound waves cause the inner core of the panel to vibrate, generating a small amount of heat. The net effect of this is to convert sound into heat which quickly dissipates, creating a quieter, more pleasant environment.
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