To mark British Science Week – a 10-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths – we have decided to reveal some of the secrets behind the science of our acoustic barriers.
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our everyday lives so convenient.
We take things for granted – mobile phones, motion sensors, touch screens, microwave ovens – and yet the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted is really quite extraordinary.
One area where science is really fascinating is sound.
The science of sound
Our hearing is one of our most important senses. But have you ever stopped to think; what exactly is sound?
It’s the primary reason for our business function so it’s something we know quite a lot about.
Sound is caused by something emitting energy in the form of a vibration.
Areas of high and low pressure move outwards creating a form of longitudinal wave (a wave which vibrates in the direction of travel). The amplitude (volume) and frequency (pitch) of the sound wave depends on what the source is and the amount of energy supplied outwards.
Every day, we experience sound in our environment and normally these sounds are at safe levels that don’t damage our hearing.
But sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting.
Protect your ears
Echo Barrier has developed the market’s most effective temporary noise reduction systems through industry-leading research and development, and meticulous engineering and design.
Made from an innovative synthesis of acoustic insulation and acoustic absorption materials, our noise barriers achieve the ‘holy grail’ of noise control: maximum performance at minimum weight.
We’ve extensively tested the performance and durability of our acoustic fencing barriers, both in the lab and on-site and independent test results show that our barriers provide class leading attenuation of noise pollution.
By taking a rigorous approach to design, our acoustic experts have ensured our barriers deliver market-leading performance at minimum weight.
Take a look at the science
Each barrier boasts a waterproof outer layer which allows it to be 100% weatherproof which is crucial for consistent outdoor sound control.
Acoustic barriers made from conventional absorbent materials, like rock wool and fibreglass, soak up rainwater like a sponge, reducing sound absorption by as much as half. Plus, the additional weight from the water makes installation and transportation more difficult and costly.
Under the top layer is an acoustic absorbent material that soaks up as much as 100% of sound at the key 300Hz-1kHz frequency range.
They achieve this by cutting noise reflection and supressing sound reverberation.
Some barriers on the market can actually cause more noise pollution, not less. If they haven’t been designed to include effective absorbent material, they create greater noise reflection.
Extensive testing has proved that our temporary acoustic barriers not only provide unparalleled field attenuation, but that they cut noise by up to 41dB in the lab.
This is particularly impressive given that our barriers are only half the weight of typical competitor products.
Mass has a major impact on the transmission of sound: the heavier the material, the less it vibrates, and the less sound passes through it.
However, as most sound goes over and not through a barrier, increasing the mass beyond a certain point provides no additional attenuation.
Echo Barrier is the only manufacturer to have specifically designed our systems to hit this acoustic “sweet spot” to provide maximum performance at minimum weight.
Our barriers are also unique in that they are specifically designed to make it very easy to add a second layer, increasing the local sound attenuation by a factor of six.
Getting into position
Site geometry has the single biggest impact on the effectiveness of your noise control system.
The proximity of your barriers to the noise source controls the attenuation.
Acoustic barriers must be placed as close as possible to the source of noise to create a large ‘acoustic shadow’.
Picture an imaginary line running from a jackhammer to your house. Place a sound barrier somewhere along that line, and you create an acoustic shadow.
The closer you can place your barrier to the jackhammer, the larger the shadow you create.
The bigger the shadow, the greater the sound attenuation, and the less noise you’ll hear.
Our barriers are designed to help you maintain optimum site geometry, even when noisy work shifts from place to place.