It’s no secret that sound-proofing fiberboard can help protect against noise, and sound absorption is crucial to sound-quality, but the most effective sound insulation can be found in sound-dampening fibers.
The new paper, published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, found that fiberboard sound-suppressing properties are significantly more effective than fiberboard plywood when it comes to blocking sound waves.
And in some cases, it even outperformed the plywood insulation.
“The acoustic properties of sound-blocking fiberboard and plywood, which are very different, can be used to design sound-reactive composite materials,” says study co-author Christopher M. LeBlanc, a sound engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“We found that the properties of these materials could be used as an efficient way to build sound-neutral composite materials.”
LeBlac says that the paper is a step forward for sound-deflecting materials.
“These materials are a natural alternative to the use of a highly sound-destroying resin, and they are very much in the driver’s seat when it come to sound absorption,” he says.
“They can perform even better than existing materials when it came to sound attenuation and noise abatement.”
Leblanc says that he and his colleagues used sound-sensitive technology to measure the acoustic properties and absorbance of three types of sound absorbing fiberboard: a porous material, a soft fiberboard with a thin layer of material and a soft material.
They found that they could significantly reduce sound pressure at high frequencies by up to 100 dB (7 decibels).
“The best-performing sound-producing materials for sound absorption are porous materials,” LeBlANC says.
He adds that the material can be produced using a combination of materials, including acrylic and PVC.
“This is a breakthrough in sound absorption technology,” he said.
“For years, scientists have been trying to improve the acoustic performance of sound barriers, but these materials have the highest acoustic properties.”
LeBLANC says that his team is working with materials researchers around the world to further develop these materials, but that the ultimate goal is to develop sound-reflective materials that are superior to plywood for sound absorbency.
LeblANC’s research team includes Kevin M. Cavanaugh, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Berkeley; James E. Jones, an assistant professor at Caltech; and Daniel J. Stebbins, a postdoctoral fellow at UCBerkeley.