Exploring Novel, Hard, Acoustically Absorbent, Materials

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Virginia Tech


At the turn of the 20th century two contemporaries in their respective fields teamed up to develop a solution to an acoustic problem with the hard-surfaced vaulted ceilings being installed in many large spanning rooms being built at the time. In the spirit of their ingenuity, this research explores a 21st century solution to a similar problem in contemporary buildings; the desire for a durable, hard surface wall or ceiling material treatment that is more sound absorbent than other common surface treatments. To find a material answer to this desire an impedance tube was used to analyze the mid-frequency octave band absorption coefficients of various re-purposed existing materials and tiles created utilizing 3D print technology and Helmholtz resonators. Additionally, an empirical study of Helmholtz resonator geometry was performed by analyzing the sound absorption of resonant cavity shape changes. Finally, plots of the absorption coefficients for each material tested were created to provide a visual comparison against two common surface treatment materials, tectum and gypsum wall board.



material, acoustically absorbent, 3D printing, Rafael Guastavino, Wallace C. Sabine, Cohesive Construction, Helmholtz resonator, porous, vaults, impedance, absorption