Environmental Noise Control

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………. DEFINITIONS………………………………………………………………………….. Sound and Noise ……………………………………………………………………… Sound Waves…………………………………………………………………………... Speed of Sound………………………………………………………………………… Wavelength and Frequency…………………………………………………………... Noise Spectrum………………………………………………………………………… Octave Bands…………………………………………………………………………... Decibel and A-Weighted Decibel (dBA) Scale……………………………………… Loudness………………………………………………………………………………... Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and Sound Power Level (PWL)……………………. BASIC CALCULATIONS……………………………………………………………... Calculating Sound Power from Sound Pressure…………………………………… Calculating the Total PWL for a Single Noise Source……………………………... A-Weighting the PWL of a Single Noise Source……………………………………. Calculating the Total PWL of Numerous Noise Sources……………………….…. SOURCE-PATH-RECEIVER…………………………………………………………. Source Specifics……………………………………………………………………….. Path Specifics………………………………………………………………………….. Receiver Specifics……………………………………………………………………... ACOUSTIC MATERIALS……………………………………………………………... Sound Absorbing Materials…………………………………………………………… Transmission Loss or Barrier Materials……………………………………………… Resonator-Type Materials…………………………………………………………….. Damping Materials…………………………………………………………………….. Vibration Isolators……………………………………………………………………… 1 1 1 1 2 3 5 8 10 12 14 17 17 19 19 20 23 23 25 34 38 38 39 40 41 41

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TABLE OF CONTENTS – CONT’D
Page ATTENUATION………………………………………………………………………… Buffers…………………………………………………………………………………… Natural Barriers………………………………………………………………………… Barriers………………………………………………………………………………….. Acoustical Enclosures…………………………………………………………………. Acoustical Buildings……………………………………………………………………. Silencers………………………………………………………………………………… Acoustic Plenums……………………………………………………………………… Acoustic Louvers……………………………………………………………………….. Acoustic Lagging……………………………………………………………………….. NOISE CONTROL APPLICATIONS………………………………………………… ATCO’s Acoustic Assemblies………………………………………………………… ATCO’s Balanced Approach………………………………………………………….. Testing and Guarantees………………………………………………………………. USEFUL SOURCES………………………………………………………………… 42 42 42 42 43 44 46 49 50 51 51 51 53 58 61

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Impulsive Noise……………………………………………………………. Refraction of Sound………………………………………………………… Equivalent Continuous Sound Pressure Level (Leq)……………………. Transmission Loss (TL) for Two Walls…………………………………… Example of Parallel Baffles………………………………………………...………………………...FIGURES Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4: Figure 5: Figure 6: Figure 7: Figure 8: Figure 9: Figure 10: Figure 11: Figure 12: Figure 13: Figure 14: Figure 15: Figure 16: Figure 17: Figure 18: Figure 19: Figure 20: Figure 21: Figure 22: Figure 23: Figure 24: Figure 25: Figure 26: Figure 27: Behavior of Sound Waves…………………………………………………. Comparison Between the Pascal and Decibel Scales…………………. Sound Pressure Decreases 6 dB for Each Doubling of Distance……. Wavelength and Frequency………………………………………………... Page 2 4 5 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 18 23 26 28 29 30 31 32 33 35 36 39 47 49 50 iv . Sound Propagation from a Line Source…………………………………. 3 dB Near Field and 6 dB Far Field Guideline for a Point Source……. What Happens When Sound Waves Encounter an Obstacle…………. Structure Borne Noise……………………………………………………… Near Field and Far Field…………………………………………………… Sound Intensity……………………………………..... Common Noise Level Criteria Used by Regulators…………………….. Wavelength…………………………………………………………………. Example of a Noise Level Spectrum……………………………………… Discrete Frequency (Tonal) Noise………………………………………. Equal Loudness Contours…………………………………………………...……………………………………… Doubling Sound Pressure Adds 3 dB……………………………………. B.... One-Third Octave Band and Octave Band……………. Broad Band Noise…………………………………………………………..... Narrow Band. Example of an Absorptive-Reactive Silencer……………………………. C and D Weighting Networks. Comparison of Sound Power (PWL or Lw) and Sound Pressure (SPL or Lp)…………………………………………………………………………. A... Example of an Acoustic Plenum………………………………………….

51 52 54 55 57 59 v ...FIGURES – CON’T Page Figure 28: Figure 29: Figure 30: Figure 31 Figure 32 Figure 33 Example of an Acoustic Louver…………………………………………… Example of a Noise Management™ Assembly…………………………. Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant Before Acoustic Treatment…. Example of ATCO’s Balanced Approach………………………………… Sample Acoustical Test……………………………………………………. Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant After Acoustic Treatment…….

…………………………………………………………. Sampling of Noise from Sources at a Peaking Power Plant…….. 16 Table 2: 19 21 22 25 36 Table 3: Table 4: Table 5: Table 6: Table 7: 45 vi ... STC Ratings and Their Relationship to Sound Proofing Properties…..TABLES Page Table 1: Relationship Between Sound Power (PWL or Lw) and Sound Pressure (SPL or L p)……………………………………………….. Examples of Sound Power Levels for Select Equipment by Octave Band Frequency……………………………………………. Table Method for Adding or Subtracting Decibels………………. Correction for Background Noise…………………………………... Examples of Community Noise Guidelines……………………….

ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE CONTROL
INTRODUCTION
The objective of environmental noise control is to improve the acoustic environment in a community by reducing noise levels. Noise from industrial operations can affect neighboring residential areas, ranging from intolerable noise levels to structural vibrations. Well-planned noise control can eliminate a major component of an industrial site’s impact on its surrounding environment. Noise control is based on what we know about how sound behaves. For this reason, our look at some of the fundamentals of environmental noise control begins with basic descriptions of sound and noise, acoustic materials, and attenuation.

DEFINITIONS
SOUND AND NOISE
Noise is usually defined as annoying or unwanted sound. Sound may be defined as any pressure variation (in air, water or other medium) that the human ear can detect. A barometer measures pressure changes in air. However, the arrival of a warm or cold front is too slow and the changes too gradual to be heard and, hence, called sound. The human ear hears the rapid changes in air pressure that barometers can’t measure—changes that are at least 20 times per second. Pressure changes are caused by the action of a vibrating object—such as a turbine casing—on the surrounding air.

SOUND WAVES
Pressure variations (sound energy) travel through air or other elastic media (such as water) in the form of sound waves from the sound source to the receptor (microphone, listener’s ears). When a solid object hits the air and does so repeatedly—as a vibrating

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object does—the air alternately compresses and expands around it and waves of lower and higher pressure are sent out in all directions from the object. What we sometimes feel in our ears, and express as sound, is the change from the lower to higher pressure.

Figure 1: Behavior of Sound Waves

Sound vibrations alternately compress and expand air in front of the loudspeaker cone, moving away in the form of a sound wave.

SPEED OF SOUND
The speed at which sound travels varies with the medium. In air, a familiar rule applies. Do you recall counting three (3) seconds per kilometer (five (5) seconds per mile) every time you saw lightning to the time you heard thunder? The time lapse corresponds to the speed of sound in air of 1,238 kilometers (770 miles) per hour. For purposes of sound measurement, the speed of sound is expressed as 340 meters (372 yards) per second (at sea level and 15° Celsius).

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WAVELENGTH AND FREQUENCY
The number of pressure changes per second is called the frequency of the sound. Units of frequency used to be given in cycles per second, but now they are called Hertz (Hz), to honor H.R. Hertz, the physicist who discovered electromagnetic waves. One cycle of pressure change is called the period. The period is also called the reciprocal of the frequency and is given as follows:

Period (T)

=

1 Frequency

Knowing the speed and frequency of a sound allows the calculation of its wavelength. A wavelength is the distance a sound wave travels in the time it takes to complete one cycle or period.

Wavelength (λ) = Speed of Sound ( c ) Frequency (Hz)

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At 20. The longer wavelength of a low frequency sound allows it to slip easily around or over barriers. a wavelength is about 17 meters (56 feet). Low frequency noises have long wavelengths and high frequency noises have short ones. At 20 Hz. it is important to know the wavelength of the different frequencies.000 Hz. the object in the sound path must be larger than one wavelength to significantly disturb the sound. 4 .7 centimeters (. the wavelength shortens to 1.7 inches).Figure 2: Wavelength When designing an acoustical solution to industrial noise. so an object must be larger than 17 meters wide and high to block the sound waves. In general.

Figure 3: Wavelength and Frequency NOISE SPECTRUM Most sound is made up of a number of frequencies just as light is made up of different colors. Figure 4: Example of a Noise Level Spectrum 5 . A color spectrum results when light passes through a prism. A sound or noise spectrum is produced when sound is passed through a spectrum analyzer.

Two types of noise exist: steady noise and non-steady noise. This type of noise has the characteristic of pure tones over a number of frequencies. Broad band noise is steady noise without discrete frequency tones. internal combustion engines. Sounds are of longer duration and vary little over time. acoustical energy may be heavily concentrated in one or more areas of the spectrum. white noise results. However. 6 . Figure 5: Discrete Frequency (Tonal) Noise The second most common form of industrial noise is called broad band noise. transformers and pumps. Large gas turbines emit peak noise levels in the lower frequencies. This is called pink noise and is analogous to the pink and red light at the lower frequencies of the color spectrum. If the noise has frequencies evenly distributed throughout the audible range. Steady noise with audible discrete tones is called discrete frequency noise and is the most common noise found in industry. Discrete frequency noise is caused by rotating parts of machines such as fans.

New York. 595. Other industrial noises are non-steady and consist of fluctuating noise (noise that doesn’t remain at any constant level over a given period of time). Vér. Inc. Nixon. Von Gierke and Charles W.” in Noise and Vibration Control Engineering: Principles and Applications. impulsive noise (sounds of short duration with high peak pressures). Beranke and Istaván L. intermittent noise (noise that returns to the ambient or background level). and.: John Wiley & Sons. 6 were emitted by the engine exhaust of a Solar Mars Centaur 40S. eds. Peak pressures rise at least 40 dB in 0.Figure 6: Broad Band Noise The noise levels shown in Fig. 7 . p..1 1 Henning E.5 seconds. “Damage Risk Criteria for Hearing and Human Body Vibration. Leo L. more commonly.

the frequency range is apportioned into a set of broader ranges. each containing lesser amounts of detail. Nine octave bands are most often used when measuring sound. For example. just like octaves on a piano.Figure 7: Impulsive Noise OCTAVE BANDS Frequencies are divided into octaves. one-third octave band and the octave band.5 Hz 63 Hz 125 Hz 250 Hz 500 Hz 1000 Hz 2000 Hz 4000 Hz 8000 Hz When analyzing noise at an industrial site. the 1000 Hz octave band is centered at 1000 Hz and extends from 707 Hz to 1414 Hz. a noise spectrum is studied. 8 . Instead. An octave band is defined as a range of frequencies extending from one frequency to exactly double that frequency. it is not practical to examine the acoustic energy generated at every frequency at the same time – this would create an enormous amount of data. Examples of the three most common types of frequency analyses are narrow band. However. Most Commonly Used Octave Bands in Industrial Noise Studies 31.

Instead. particularly when the noise emitted is tonal. Machines like gas turbines generate both low and high frequency sounds. Tonal or discrete frequency sounds are characterized by spikes of high energy at specific frequencies in an otherwise continuous noise spectrum. while a flute produces a high frequency tone. One-Third Octave Band and Octave Band For most industrial noise analysis. 9 . a more detailed noise analysis (using one-third octave band) is undertaken. For even greater accuracy. a narrow band analysis over specified narrow frequency ranges can be performed. they generate a single frequency or pure tone. The frequency of a sound produces its distinctive tone. Some sources don’t cause various frequencies of sound. a finer breakdown than an octave band is required. The rumble of the lowest notes of the largest pipe organ has a low frequency. Occasionally. the octave band provides a sufficient level of detail. To pinpoint these energy spikes.Figure 8: Narrow Band.

A level of 150 dB is equivalent to a jet aircraft at take off. The decibel scale was devised to make calculations of noise levels manageable. which uses 2 x 10 –5 Pa as the starting point of zero (0) dB. Because the range of sound pressures in a typical room is so huge. using the Pascal scale to measure noise would be close to impossible. A pressure change of 20µPa is equivalent to 5 billion times less than normal atmospheric pressure. For example. The weakest sound the human ear can hear has an amplitude of around 20 millionths of a Pascal (20µPa) – the scale used to measure barometric pressure. while the space shuttle is recorded at 180 dB.DECIBEL (DB) AND A-WEIGHTED DECIBEL (DBA) SCALE The size or amplitude of pressure changes is measured in decibels or dB. Zero dB or 2 x 10 –5 Pa is the lowest pressure a young adult can detect of a pure tone at 1000 Hz. Most continuous noise sources emit sound pressure levels between 0 to 150 dB. Figure 9: Comparison Between the Pascal and Decibel Scales Sound Pressure (Pascals) Sound Pressure Level (Decibels) Equipment Examples Unsilenced Turbine Inlet (3 m) Unsilenced Turbine Exhaust (3 m) Inside Turbine Enclosure Cooling Tower (3 m) Transformers (3 m) HRSG Inside Powerhouse Building Lube Oil Cooler (3 m) Inside Control Room Examples Jet Engine (25 m) Rock Concert Heavy Truck Conversational Speech 10 . The decibel (dB) is a unit of logarithmic measure. Noise levels over 150 dB can occur. a blowdown vent opening can produce sounds of 170 dB.

4 from 100 dB (i.The decibel scale is a closer approximation to the sounds heard by the human ear than the Pascal scale. In this case.4 = 60. a manufacturer might provide the noise level of a machine in dB. The B weightings.5 Hz band. For purposes of noise control. 100 dB – 0 = 100 dBA). C. initial calculations of the noise level might be made in dB. also known as the linear scale. A correction factor was devised to change unweighted decibels (dB). This is because the human ear is more sensitive to sound at frequencies between 1000 and 5000 Hz and less sensitive to higher and lower frequency sounds.4. The answer—60. For example..6 dBA). the decibel scale still doesn’t replicate what the human ear actually hears. There exist three additional weighting networks — B. However. are no longer in use. D weightings are used when very high frequencies. To quantify the sensitivity of humans to sound the A-weighted decibel or dBA scale (also written dB(A)) was created. 100 dB – 39. C weightings are used because they attenuate low frequencies much less than the other weightings.6 dBA—is how “loud” the 100 dB sound is perceived by the human ear in the 31. need to be attenuated. because the human ear is able to react to exponential changes in sound pressure. Sometimes it is necessary to convert from the dB to dBA scale and vice versa. and D — which are either used in special circumstances or are obsolete. Subtract 39.. Example: A 100 dB sound in the 31. emphasizing middle frequencies. then converted to dBA.e. like those emitted from jet engines. By contrast.e. When low frequency noise is of concern. whereas the community noise requirement is stated for dBA. 11 .5 Hz band has a correction factor of –39. the same 100 dB sound is perceived by the human ear exactly as 100 dBA when frequencies are in the 1000 Hz band (i. to A-weighted decibels (dBA). both the dB and dBA scale can be used interchangeably.

3 -0.5 -22.2 Curve D dB -26.7 -50. B.2 1 0.3 -0.5 -11.8 -0.2 -26.4 -0. the human ear’s range starts at the threshold of hearing (0 dB) and ends at the threshold of pain (around 140 dB).5 6 3 -4 -7.1 -0.5 16 20 25 31.1 -0.5 -3 -2 -1 -0. 12 .2 -28.9 -0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0.5 -11 -9 -7.9 -4.5 -20.5 -24.5 -44.5 -12.3 -6.1 Curve C dB -14.6 -4.6 -6.4 -17.4 -11.5 0 0 0 0 2 5.2 -4.4 -63.8 -0.4 -5.5 -0.2 -0.2 -1.8 -3.1 0 0 0 0 -0.5 40 50 63 80 100 125 160 200 250 315 400 500 630 800 1000 1250 1600 2000 2500 3150 4000 5000 6300 8000 10000 12500 16000 20000 Curve A dB -70.3 -6.1 -13.000 Hz for a healthy human ear.5 -6.2 -8.3 -0.5 -0.2 -3 -2 -1.2 -20.4 -56.2 -8.3 -2 -3 -4.2 -0.1 -16.2 -22.3 1.8 0 0.1 -8.6 1 1.4 -10.7 -39.4 -34.9 -8.1 -1.4 -3 -2 -1. This translates into a range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 20. C and D Weighting Networks Frequency 10 12.3 Curve B dB -38.2 -0.5 -16. In terms of sound pressure.5 -24.5 -19.5 8 10 11 11 11 10 8.5 LOUDNESS Sound is defined as any pressure variation heard by the human ear.5 -0.2 -33.6 -9.3 -7.4 -6.9 -2.6 -4.3 -0.5 -6 -4.6 -9.5 -4.5 -0.7 -1.5 -14.2 1.6 -30.Figure 10: A.8 -1.1 -2.2 -1.2 -11.3 -0.1 -14.5 -18.3 -11.

adding together two identical noise sources of 85 dB results in a total noise level of 88 dB (85 dB + 85 dB = 88 dB). Similarly. The 3dB rule applies only when identical noise sources are added (or subtracted). In the latter guideline. Figure 11: Doubling Sound Pressure Adds 3dB 13 . The 10 dB loudness rule is not the same as a common guideline used when decibels are added (or subtracted) together. As a rule of thumb. For example. the loudness is cut in half.The human ear is less sensitive to sound pressure variations in the low frequencies compared to the higher frequencies. a doubling in sound pressure results in a 3 dB increase in the noise level (not a 10 dB increase as with loudness). A 50 Hz tone must be 15 dB higher than a 1000 Hz tone at a level of 70 dB to be perceived as the same loudness by the listener. for each 10 dB decrease in sound pressure. a doubling in the loudness of the sound occurs with every increase of 10 dB in sound pressure.

you may recall “feeling” rather than “hearing” sound. the changes an acoustical engineer records can be huge—from as small as a millionth of a Pascal (also recorded in 14 . When dealing with sound. Vibrations from very low frequency sounds can rattle dishes and shake home foundations even though they can’t be heard. In practice. What is interpreted as loud noise by one individual may not be loud or noise to another.The human ear’s ability to hear logarithmic changes in sound pressure explains why loudness increases 10 dB but the noise level from identical sources increases by only 3dB. However. Of note is that human beings do not hear sounds in the very low frequencies. loudness plays a small role in noise control because it is subjective and varies from person to person. Figure 12: Equal Loudness Contours Equal loudness curves show the relative lack of sensitivity of the human ear to low frequencies. SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (SPL) AND SOUND POWER LEVEL (PWL) Sound pressure is the change in pressure of the air above and below the average atmospheric pressure.

heat and sound. is sound energy after it is converted into decibels. The equation used to calculate the Sound Power Level is: PWL or Lw = 10 log10 (W / W0) Or. sound pressure is converted into decibels. The scale starts at zero decibels and the international standard of pressure change of 2 x 10 –5 Pa.0 x 10 –5 Pa [dB] 10 log10 (p2 / p20) [dB] Most manufacturers will make available the Sound Pressure Levels of their machines. in a simpler form as: PWL or Lw = 10 log10 (W) + 120 Where: PWL or Lw = W = W0 = Sound Power Level acoustic energy of the source given in watts (W) international reference sound power of 10 –12 Watt (W) [dB] [dB] 15 . Sound power is defined as the average rate at which sound energy is radiated from a sound source. and referred to as the Sound Pressure Level (SPL or Lp ). This reference is 10 –12 x watt (W). The equation used to calculate the Sound Pressure Level is: SPL or Lp = Or. emit energy in the form of power. abbreviated as PWL or Lw. The acoustic energy radiating from a machine is termed sound power. The power is expressed in horsepower. a reference sound power has been established. the unit used to describe your car’s performance. such as gas turbines. in a simpler form as: SPL or Lp = 20 log10 p + 94 Where: SPL or Lp = p = p0 = Sound Pressure Level root-mean-square (rms) sound pressure (Pascals or Pa) international reference pressure of 2. The Sound Power Level. abbreviated as psi) to larger pressure changes like explosions inside reciprocating engines and gas turbines. These machines. Like sound pressure.pounds per square inch. To measure such wide pressure changes (or amplitude). It is measured in watts (W).

SPL. is like the amount of light produced at a given distance from the bulb in a specific environment.0 watt of acoustic energy is the equivalent of 120 dB: PWL or Lw = = = = 10 log (1 watt / 10 –12 watts) 10 log (1012 ) 10 (12) 120 dB The PWL or Lw is constant for a given source and is independent of the acoustic environment. on the other hand. Sound pressure is relatively easy to measure—the pressure variations felt by the human eardrum are the same pressure variations detected by a microphone used to record the sound. but must be calculated from the Sound Pressure Level.Example: 1. It cannot be measured directly. This is because PWL can be thought of as similar to the watt rating of a light bulb. Table 1: Relationship between Sound Power (PWL or L w) and Sound Pressure (SPL or Lp) Pressure and Pressure Level: Source Average hearing threshold Whisper Conversation Train Station Jet aircraft at takeoff Pascal (Pa) 2 x 10 –5 2 x 10 –3 4 x 10 -2 2 x 10 6 x 10 0 1 Decibels (dB) 0 40 65 100 130 Power and Power Level: Source Conversational voice Piano Orchestra Jet aircraft at takeoff Space shuttle Watts (W) 10 –5 10 –2 10 0 10 2 10 6 Decibels (dB) 70 100 120 140 180 16 .

3 m2 And Po2 ÷ W0 ρC= 0.BASIC CALCUL ATIONS CALCULATING SOUND POWER FROM SOUND PRESSURE The Sound Power Level (PWL or Lw) of noisy equipment is what we use to determine the amount of attenuation needed to meet the noise level requirement. the Sound Pressure Level is relatively easy to measure. 1. PWL or Lw ≅ SPL + 10 log (A ) represents an approximation of the Sound Power Level. it must be calculated.18. An equation that gives an approximate calculation of the PWL from the SPL of a noise source is:2 PWL or Lw ≅ SPL + 10 log (A ) Where: SPL = Sound Pressure Level of the sound source at a specified distance Area = height x width x length in square meters (m2) [dB] As mentioned. To calculate the PWL. Also needed to calculate the PWL is the size (or dimension) of the noise source. However.225 kg/m3 x 340.96 and 10 log (0. a microphone picks up the same pressure changes as the human ear. 17 .3 meters per second density of medium. Manufacturers will often make available the SPL and equipment dimensions upon request. As mentioned. the sound pressure 2 The precise equation is: PWL = SPL + 10 log [P02 * A/W0 ρ C] Where: SPL P02 A C ρ = = = = = Sound Pressure Level of the sound source at a specified distance reference pressure of 20 x 10 –5 area of sound source in square meters (m2 ) speed of sound which is 340.225 kilograms per cubic meter in air Since Po2 = (20 x 10 –5 )2 Pa 2 W0ρC = 1 x 10 –12 x 1. Hence the formula. measured. all acoustic calculations involving distance use metric units.96) = -0. the PWL cannot be Note: Unless otherwise indicated. we first measure the Sound Pressure Level—usually at one meter from the machine.

18 . This same analogy can be applied to sound. To use an analogy from another kind of energy — electrical energy — heating the head of a pin and a stovetop element to exactly the same temperature takes different levels of energy. A radio and orchestra might produce the same Sound Pressure Level (e. but the orchestra emits substantially higher amounts of acoustical energy with a correspondingly greater impact on the environment. The amount of electricity used to heat the pin is much less than the energy emitted by the element. The peak noise level is often the level that is attenuated. particularly when it is causing discomfort to residents in the neighborhood.. 85 dB) at a certain distance.measurement doesn’t represent the acoustical energy (sound power) of a machine. Figure 13: Comparison of Sound Power (PWL or Lw) and Sound Pressure (SPL or Lp) The PWL also needs to be calculated in each octave band.g. Recall the noise peaks that occur at discrete frequencies for most industrial equipment.

I ∑ = Sound Power Level or PWL for each octave band frequency = sum of number of PWLs Example: Calculating the total PWL for a LM6000 enclosure at Iroquois Falls. i /10 ] i=1 Where: L w.0 120.5 103. the next step is to enter the calculated PWLs into the following formula to obtain the Total PWL: n Total Sound Power Level (PWL) = L w.0 100.0 108.0 113.0 102.5 96.0 107.0 112.0 87.5 122.783 x 1012) PWL or Lw Total = 126.0 116.5/10 + 1084.5 99.5 97.5 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 124.5/10 + 10113.0 117.5/10 + 10106. To obtain the total A-weighted PWL for single noise source.5/10 + 1087.5/10 + 10117.5/1) PWL or Lw Total = 10 * log 10 (4.0 113.0 77.0 Equipment Item LM6000 Enclosure HRSG Body Inlet Filter * PWLs for select equipment at 110 MW power station in Iroquois Falls.5 106.0 84.Table 2: Examples of Sound Power Levels for Select Equipment by Octave Band Frequency * Sound Power Level (PWL or Lw) in dB (relative to 10 –12 Watts) Octave Band Frequency (Hz) 31. Ontario: PWL or LwTotal = 10 * log10 (10 124.5/10 + 1077. a 19 . Ontario.5 98. CALCULATING THE TOTAL PWL FOR A SINGLE NOISE SOURCE After a machine’s PWL is calculated for each octave band frequency. A-W EIGHTING THE PWL OF A SINGLE NOISE SOURCE Sometimes it is necessary to A-weight the Sound Power Level if a community’s noise by-law is stated in dBA.5/10 + 10100.8 dB The total PWL should always be higher than the highest PWL recorded by octave band—a quick way to check whether your calculation is on track.0 107.5/10 + 10120.0 92. Total = 10 * log10 [ Σ 10 Lw.5 114.5 89.0 120.0 106.

is added to the unweighted PWL (known as the linear PWL) at each octave band frequency. Taking the linear PWL at each frequency for a combustion exhaust.5 77.1 101.5 1. which are often driven by two or more gas turbines.5 84.7 87. Example: Calculating A-weighted PWL’s using the table method.5 -1.4 113.4 CALCULATING THE TOTAL PWL OF NUMEROUS NOISE SOURCES In most industrial facilities.2 94. sound is emitted from many sources. apply the correction factor from Table 3 to obtain the A-weighted result.1 76.5 -3. 20 .5 1.1 120.2 103. the A-weighted PWLs for each octave band are inserted into the formula for calculating the Total Sound Power Level to obtain the PWL expressed in dBA.9 106. Table 3 gives a sampling of some of the major noise sources associated with a single gas turbine at a peaking power plant.5 -8.6 104.4 85.5 0 100. given in Figure 10.5 -39.0 88. Then.5 -26. 31.5 -16.3 100.2 85.5Hz Take Unweighted PWLs LM 6000 Enclosure Add A-Weighted Correction Factor Obtain A-Weighted PWL Result 63Hz 125Hz 250Hz 500Hz 1000Hz 2000Hz 4000Hz 8000Hz 124.3 117.correction factor.

2 104.0/10 + 1057.0 104.5/10 + 10103.0 87.1 114.0 91.0 110.5 110.9 101.9 108.1 150.1 88.3 112.0 137.0 86.0 97.6 102.9/10 + 10100.5 110.4/10 + 1092.0 77.0 98.5 96.0 89.9 103.0 116.9 92.4 105.0 69.3 100.4 38.8 36.9 93.4/10 + 10108.4 102.4 45.9 100.4 98.3 79.8 108.7 96.5 98.4 94.0 99.3 93.8 93.5 101.9 92.8 84.0/10 + 1092.8 85.0 98.8 92.9 100.3 150.8 85.9 100.1/10 + 10101.4 53.0 146.6 98. Total = 10 * log10 (10 100.8 103.0 92.4 85.3 98.0 103.0 87.5 103.0 88.0 95.0 95.0 98.8 93.0 96.8 51.7 93.1 102.4 41.9 111.8 93.5 114.0 114.0 95.4 46.6 112.7 96.1 100.4 87.0 83.3 137.0 93.1 89.0 89.5 99.0 102.8 109.3 97.0 93.0 88.10 103.0 99.7 98.0 60.1 101.0 92.1/10 + 10114.2 108.0 87.4 99.3/10 + 10131.3 132.2 The same formula for adding (or subtracting) PWLs for a single noise source is used for adding (or subtracting) multiple-source PWLs.0 96.0 91.0 142.1 96.3 131.3 146.0/10) 10 * log 10 (1.7 98.0 145.8 84.1 78.4 108. you can add (subtract) over the individual noise sources first (across a row) and arrive at the same grand total.0 57. Total = PWL or Lw.1 117.8 101.3 87.3 104.8 110.1 100.0 103.8 91.1 109.9 86.0 104. then a grand total is calculated for all noise sources over the nine octave bands.8 108. However.8 108.8 101.7 96.2/10 + 10 103.3 145.5 Hz octave band is: PWL or Lw.4 Total dB 131.4 92.0 95.8/10 + 10 108.0 91.0 106.8 81.0 139.1 104.0 86.0 72.5Hz 63Hz 125Hz 250Hz 500Hz 1000Hz 2000Hz 4000Hz 8000Hz Total dB 105.28 x 1013 ) 131.0 43.3 98.1 100.0 90.0 90.7 87.9 112.8/10 + 10101.0 96.1 96.Table 3: Sampling of Noise from Sources at a Peaking Power Plant Sound Power Levels at Center Octave Bands – dB (relative to 10 –12 Watts) Source Description Inlet Gas Turbine Turbine Vent Fan Load Compartment Vent Fan Load Compartment Discharge Lube Oil Demister Vent Accessory Module Inlet Plenum Turbine Compartment Exhaust Diffuser Load Compartment Generator Expansion Joint Transition Duct Exhaust Stack Casing Exhaust Stack Opening Fin Fan Cooler 31.3 115.5 107.2 95.0 88.0 99.0/10 + 1086. Total = PWL or Lw.2 103.2 dB 21 .0 109.3 86.4 30.4 90.3 142.1 85.1/10 + 1089.3 139. Example: Calculating the total PWL for all the noise sources in Table 3 at the 31. The difference is that all source PWLs are typically added (subtracted) up over a single octave band (down a column).4 63.3 76.0 132.2 103.8 103.0 93.

1 Example: Using the table method to determine the PWL of three of the power plant noise sources in the 31.2 dB.0 2. 6.0 dB is 17.1 dB converts to 1.8 1. Table 4: Table Method for Adding or Subtracting Decibels Difference between levels – dB 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 16 Number of dB to be added to the higher level 3. until all levels are combined.5 2. first find the difference between the two loudest sources in PWLs.5 1.2 dB – 101. go to Table 5 and add the specified number of dB that correspond to the difference.4 dB = 6.3 0. Looking at 17. 2 dB + 1.0 dB = 109.3 dB for total noise.9 dB and lube oil demister vent noise level of 92. a 6. Next.0 0.8 0. 108.2 dB in Table 5. For example.2 dB and 92.2 dB. 22 . Looking at Table 5.1 dB. a generator noise level of 101.3 dB difference means 1.1 1.5 octave band in the example in Table 4: turbine vent noise level of 108.1dB = 109.2 1.9 dB = 6.A popular method for adding (or subtracting) PWLs is the table method. The sum should then be combined with the highest remaining level and so on.4 0. 109.1 is added to the subtotal.0 should be added to the highest noise level. The difference between 109.2 dB + 0.6 0.0 dB 108. 0.0 dB. Start by subtracting the noise level of the turbine vent noise level from the generator (108.5 0.2 dB for turbine vent and generator noise Add the lube oil demister vent noise to the subtotal.2 dB – 103.3 dB).2 0.

SOURCE-PATH-RECEIVER All noise propagation can be broken into three parts: ♦ The source ♦ The path ♦ The receiver The source radiates sound based on its sound power (PWL). The path is how the sound travels through the air. Noise from a source can either be air borne or structure borne. Figure 14: Structure Borne Noise 23 . Free field conditions exist when no obstacles block the sound path. Structure borne noise is a term used to describe mechanical vibrations carried from machinery through to a building’s structure. much like a weather front. concentric circles and from line sources as a cylindrical wave. SOURCE SPECIFICS In industry. microphone. or a line source. The receiver is what the sound impinges upon (person. In the free field.). like a pipeline. etc. Noise that travels through the air and through building walls and openings is called air borne noise. sound propagates outward from point sources in uniform. the most common noise sources are described as a point source. like a gas turbine.

24 . measures sound levels at mid-band frequencies of 63. Industrial parks. occupational health standards in most countries limit employees’ exposure to the noise. such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). the number of measurements vary by machine shape and size. Determine the difference between the two measurements. 4000. the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets 85 dBA over an eight hour period as the maximum admissible noise exposure limit in the workplace. The floor is assumed to reflect the sound energy and so it is not included in the measuring surface. For example.Whether a point or line source. Microphones are located at the points and. The OSHA standard is representative of a source noise limit. ANSI (American National Standards Institute). 3. and 8000 Hz. 125. However. Shut down all equipment and measure the background noise level alone. Measure the total noise level with all equipment running. Normally 10 to 12 measurements of the sound pressure around the periphery of a machine at one meter (3 feet) are taken to obtain the source noise level. With this standard in mind. background or ambient noise exists along with the source noise. the noise level of the source must be at least 10 dB higher than the ambient noise level. 1000. CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and ISO (International Standards Organization) publish guidelines on how to construct a grid over equipment and gather point measurements at different frequencies. The measurements are averaged for each frequency and corrected for the machine’s measuring surface area to find the Sound Power Level. 250. The following steps are recommended to obtain measurements of noise for a source under conditions of background noise: 1. 500. can emit high ambient noise levels from the many industries on site. a sound level meter set to A-weighting. plant equipment is typically ordered to emit sounds of no more than 85 dBA at one meter (3 feet). National and international standard institutes. for example. Often in industry. 2. To get an accurate reading of noise from a specific source.

0 1. 25 .5 0. a correction is necessary. To make corrections the following table method can be used. then an accurate measure is not possible. The sound field within close proximity to a noise source is called the near field. then background noise won’t interfere with a true measurement of the total noise level.0 0. Size is measured according to the largest dimension of the object. much like water ripples on a pond.0 PATH SPECIFICS Under free field conditions. A person is considered to be standing in the near field if he or she is within one size of the noisy object in distance away. S12.34 .5 0. sound flows from line sources as a cylindrical wave. then the near field would start at the point away from the building that is equivalent to its height.5 0.0 1. By contrast. If the background noise is between 3 dB and 10 dB. if the object is a building and the largest dimension is the building’s height. Table 5: Correction for Background Noise dB difference between sound pressure level and background sound pressure level alone Less than < 6 6 7 8 9 10 Greater than > 10 Source: ANSI. If the background noise level is 3 dB or less.If the total noise level is 10 dB greater than the ambient noise level.1988 dB to subtract from sound pressure level 1. point sources produce noise that spreads uniformly as a sphere. So.

the SPL increases or decreases as the inverse square of distance. More precisely.Figure 15: Near Field and Far Field Standing 3 meters (10 feet) away from this 15 meter (50 feet) high power plant would put a person in the near field. the SPL increases the closer you move toward the noise source and decreases the further you move away. Standing at a distance more than 15 meters away places her in the far field. The formula used to calculate the SPL at a known distance away from a noise source in the free field is: Lp(R2) = Lp(R1) – 20 log 10 ( R2 ) R1 Where: Lp (R1) Lp (R2) R1 R2 [dB] = Sound Pressure Level at the initial location = Sound Pressure Level at the new location = distance from the noise source to the initial location = distance from the noise source to the new location 26 . In the free field.

This method is derived from the inverse square law of sound intensity. The SPL at the residence would be 51 dB. calculated as follows: SPL or Lp (R2) = Lp (R1) – 20 log 10 ( R2.Example: The sound level specification you are given is 75 dB for the compressor package at 50 meters away. but each successive area gets larger while the sound intensity decreases with distance. the SPL drops by 6 dB. think of sound radiating outward from a point source. decibels) R1 SPL or Lp (800 meters) = Lp (50 meters) – 20 log (800/50) SPL or Lp (800 meters) = 51 dB A popular method is to decrease the SPL by 6 dB for every doubling of distance away from the source. You have a residence 800 meters away from the facility. Example: Using the 6 dB rule. 27 . and so on. it drops by 12 dB. this sound is of uniform intensity (power per unit) in all directions. Under free field conditions. at 8 meters by 18 dB. and 4d). To understand the concept of sound intensity. the equivalent of using the formula: Distance (m) Sound Level (dB) 50 75 100 69 200 63 400 57 800 51 1600 45 Sound intensity is defined as the sound power per unit area. If you move to 4 meters away. 3d. then move one meter further away. The sound power passing through a small area (d) near the sound source is the same sound power passing through areas further away (2d. If you are located one meter away from a point source. you also get 51 dB at 800 meters.

1994. Alton Everest. As the area of a sphere is 4πr2 . sound pressure varies inversely as the first power of distance. That is.: Tab Books. Intensity of sound is inversely proportional to the square of the distance in a free field. the area of a small segment on the surface of the sphere varies in relation to the square of the radius. and quadrupling the distance reduces the intensity to 1/16. New York. 3rd Ed. this means that sound pressure is reduced 6 dB for each doubling of the distance. 3 F. tripling the distance reduces the intensity to 1/9. “Doubling the distance from d to 2d reduces the intensity to ¼. This is called the 6 dB rule. 28 .” 3 The inverse square law for intensity becomes the inverse distance law for sound pressure. The Master Handbook of Acoustics. page 68. concentric circles are actually spheres.Figure 16: Sound Intensity The same sound energy is distributed over successively larger areas as distance from the sound source is increased. When sound pressure is plotted against distance units. The uniform.

425.. For a line source. the sound spread equates to a 3 dB loss per doubling of distance. If sound values between distance points (e.5 meters) are required.Figure 17: Sound Pressure Decreases 6 dB for Each Doubling of Distance The inverse square law holds true only for discrete distance points and under free field conditions. the calculation rather than the table method is used. The formula for calculating noise levels at different distances from a line source is: Lp (R2) = L p(R1) – 10 log 10 ( R2 ) [dB] R1 Where: Lp (R1) Lp (R2) R1 R2 = Sound Pressure Level at the initial location = Sound Pressure Level at the new location = distance from the noise source to the initial location = distance from the noise source to the new location 29 .g.

where b is the width of the building) is reached. The radial distance is roughly one-third a building’s width. Sound is radiating outward from a flat surface. there is minimal noise reduction until the radial distance (r = b/π. rather than a point source. calculated as follows: L (R2) = L(R1) – 10 log 10 ( R2. the Sound Pressure Level 30 . decibels) R1 L (800 meters) = L (200 meters) – 10 log10 (800/200) L (800 meters) = 55 dB – 10 log10 (800/200) L (800 meters) = 51 dB Figure 18: Sound Propagation from a Line Source In the near field. The SPL at the residence would be 51 dB.Example: The sound level specification you are given is 55 dB for a paper recycling bailer at 200 meters away. You have a residence 800 meters away from the facility. At this point and as far as the far field. the building behaves as a plane source. noise from a point source diverges from the –6 dB guideline. Because point sources are typically housed in buildings. With plane sources like buildings.

Some of these conditions can occur at the same time. reflection. Figure 19: 3dB Near Field and 6 dB Far Field Guideline for a Point Source The near field-far field guideline applies only in the free field. five phenomena can occur: absorption. 31 . Think of the static on your car radio as you drive into a tunnel. This fact is important when considering how to attenuate noise. then changes to –6 dB in the far field. When a sound wave encounters an obstacle. Part of a sound wave’s energy is absorbed and part is reflected when it strikes a surface.diverges at the same rate as a line source (-3 dB per doubling of distance). sound waves regularly collide with obstacles. the more sound is absorbed rather than reflected. transmission. For example. the more porous a surface. In practice. diffraction and refraction.

When an object is a certain thicknesslike a wallpart of the sound wave’s energy is transmitted through it. with its long wavelength. more sound energy will pass through a thin wall than a thick one. In general. If sound-absorbing material is also added inside of the wall. This is the difference between the noise level measured on the source side of a noise barrier. Objects capable of diffracting (bending) sound must be large compared to the wavelength of the sound. a barrier must be acoustically large (larger than the wavelength of the sound) to change the sound path. Figure 20: What Happens When Sound Waves Encounter an Obstacle Diffraction is a change in the direction of travel of sound when the sound encounters an obstacle. 32 . The amount of noise lost when sound waves pass through a wall or barrier is called Transmission Loss (TL). and the level measured on the receiver side. then the amount of noise that gets through to the other side will be less than if the wall were left “untreated”. For low frequency noise.

because winds aloft are usually faster than at ground level. Refraction of the noise toward the ground occurs in the first instance and refraction away from the ground in the latter case.Refraction changes the direction of travel of the sound by differences in the speed of propagation. air temperatures decrease as altitude increases. The sound wave travels slower when traveling against the wind. Figure 21: Refraction of Sound 33 . Sound travels faster in warmer air than in cooler air causing the tops of the wavefronts to go faster than the bottom parts. This causes sound waves to refract upwards which decreases audibility along the ground. and in cold winter conditions. Also. Sometimes. the upper part of a sound wave travels faster than the lower part when travelling with the wind. the temperature is higher above the ground than near the grounda condition called a temperature inversioncausing sound waves to bend back toward the ground and increase audibility. Under normal conditions. Temperature inversions are especially common at dawn. dusk. Wind and temperature changes are most common causes of refraction.

and represents an average of the noise history at a given site or location. A property line noise limit is typically used to control noise from stationary sources like power plants and compressor stations. more frequently. if required) 34 . Industrial zones allow higher noise levels than residential areas that have higher noise levels than noise sensitive ones like hospitals or nursing homes. noise is restricted to a dBA level at the boundary of the nearest sensitive area (NSA). Some localities define permissible noise levels for areas. an allowable day-time noise level is specified which is higher than a night-time noise level. is frequently combined with the property line limit. usually defined as the property line of an industrial. It is usually appraised hourly and then averaged over 24 hours.RECEIVER SPECIFICS Most municipalities set a dB or. The dBA limit in noise guidelines is sometimes qualified with the symbol Leq. a dBA limit at the nearest sensitive receiver (NSR). during which noise is either prohibited or required to stay below a certain dBA level. Leq is defined as the equivalent continuous sound pressure level. When using time limits. using the following formula: n Leq = 10 log (1/T Σ i=1 ti 10 Li/10) Where: T = ti = Li = total time (usually 24 hours) usually an hourly time interval (with Σ ti = T) Sound Pressure Level at time ti. In the case of area limits. commercial or residential building or its outside wall. The Leq is used when it is important to consider variations in Sound Pressure Levels over time. What becomes interesting from a noise control perspective is when industrial areas abut noise sensitive zones. A time limit. measured in dBA (and converted to dB.

Other communities specify that the sound level must not exceed a certain limit 75% of the time (L75). The CNEL (Community Noise Exposure Level) is the same as the Ldn but with a 5 dBA penalty added to the 10 dBA penalty from 10 p.m.. The day-night level. or 10% of the time (L10). Figure 22: Equivalent Continuous Sound Pressure Level (Leq) Other communities base their noise requirements on the existing background sound level. 5 dBA). 50 % of the time (L50). with a 10 dBA penalty added to the sound level for the hours between 10 p. 35 . Background levels drop during the night-time when people are at home asleep. L90 or L95 (the noise level present 90% or 95% of the time) with noise levels allowed to reach a certain level over the ambient level (e.m. Ldn. is an energy average of the 24 hour Leq for a day.m. to 7 a. and 7 a.m. Still other communities specify noise limits for each octave band.g.People are more sensitive to noise at night than they are during the day.

Colorado Salinas.Figure 23: Common Noise Level Criteria Used by Regulators Table 6: Examples of Community Noise Guidelines Municipality Miami. New York 70 dBA 25 feet from equipment Industrial property line Industrial property line Industrial property line Location Industrial property line 15 meters from equipment At residence 36 . Ontario World Health Organization (WHO) Puerto Rico Denver. California Sound Level Ambient + 10 dBA or 75 dBA 83 dBA L90 55 dBA Leq Daytime 75 dBA L10 80 dBA 60 CNEL 80 Ldn New York City. Florida Toronto.

sound pressure may have to be measured in locations away from structures. Since it is important to take measurements under free field conditions. Taking noise measurements at built-up sites may be complicated. The maximum or peak noise level in addition to the average noise level is captured when impulsive noise is the problem. By configuring the plant design so that noise is channeled away rather than toward the NSR or NSA. When audible discrete frequency tones exist. emit more 37 . significant cost savings for attenuation can be realized. site topography.5 meters (5 feet) above the ground or surface and away from any natural or artificial structure. Sound pressure patterns are often disturbed by buildings and other structures as well as landscaping. Sound from building openings. the average noise level is recorded during the “on” time. such as exhaust stacks and ventilation and combustion outlets. Directional noise from existing facilities is also common. The need arises when documentation is required to determine the source and level of noise affecting an NSR. For most noise. Of interest is the total Sound Pressure Level generated at the NSR by the many sound sources on the industrial site. the maximum and minimum values during the time the noise is “on” are recorded. a narrower band analysis is usually performed (either one-twelfth or onethird octave band). and atmospheric conditions influence the sound pressure levels at the NSR. If noise is fluctuating. For intermittent noise. placement of buildings. Ambient measurements are especially important when siting a plant or station. an ambient noise survey is conducted. Measuring the ambient noise level at a fully operational plant is sometimes necessary. Sound pressure measurements at the receiving property are typically taken every hour over a 24 hour period under calm and dry weather conditions. Microphones are placed at a height of 1.To measure the effect of noise from an industrial site on the NSR. How the facility is situated has a strong bearing on how much noise it will contribute at the NSA or NSR. then extrapolated out to the NSR or back to the noise source. an octave band analysis suffices. The level of ground absorption.

Sound pressure measurements at more than 20 locations may be needed to determine the directivity effect. Sound absorbing materials 2. Damping materials 5. At low frequencies. where a high α equals low reflected energy and a low α equals high reflected energy. mineral wool.. rock wool) sound loss is about 1 dB at 100 Hz to 4 dB at 3000 Hz. The amount of sound absorbed at the surface of a material is described by an absorption coefficient ( α ). Vibration isolators SOUND ABSORBING MATERIALS Sound absorbing materials are porous materials such as rock wool. The absorption coefficient relates to sound reflection. The overall performance of a sound-absorbing material is often described by 38 . the greater the sound’s impact. so that materials must be thicker to be effective. Frequency and the area of the opening influence the directivity effect. The effectiveness of acoustical material to absorb sound depends on its thickness. Resonator-type materials 4. Acoustic Materials Acoustical materials are divided into the following basic types: 1. and density. Transmission loss or barrier materials 3. amount of airspace.01 (almost no absorption and high reflection). glass fiber. The absorption coefficient of a material typically increases with frequency. The higher the frequency and larger the opening. Marble slate has an absorption coefficient of 0.g. Some specially constructed sound rooms score as high as 1.noise in the front of the openings than to the sides. porous materials absorb less sound. and foam.0 (total absorption and no reflected energy). For every inch of thickness of a porous material (e.

The higher the TL. a wall or barrier having a TL of 45 dB reduces a 120 dB interior noise level to 75 dB. a lead wall absorbs almost no sound but it is a very good insulator. A wall with a TL of 60 dB reduces the same amount of noise to 60 dB. Sound is able to travel through the material to the other side. 1000. Barrier materials are dense and rigid and are defined in terms of their Transmission Loss (TL). Sound absorption differs from sound insulation. Transmission Loss is defined as the logarithmic ratio of the sound power on one side of a barrier (wall or partition) to the sound power transmitted to the other side. 500. the better a barrier material is at limiting or attenuating the amount of sound travelling through it. Sound absorption relates to sound reflection. The NRC is the arithmetic average of the absorption coefficient at 250. The sound absorption provided by a 10 centimeter-thick (4-inch thick) fiberglass acoustical blanket is high. and 2000 Hz. Figure 24: Transmission Loss (TL) for Two Walls 39 . whereas sound insulation relates to the amount of acoustic energy able to pass through material. but its insulation quality is low.the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). By contrast. TRANSMISSION LOSS OR BARRIER MATERIALS Lead is an example of a transmission loss or barrier material. For example.

the heavier and thicker the wall the greater the attenuation of the sound or higher the TL. but a portion is reradiated back toward the sound source in the form of a hemisphere. heavy wall. Because the sound energy is bounced back toward the source in semi- 40 . The holes in the liner or tile act as resonate types of sound absorbers. A common resonator is the opening of a pop bottle or jug. RESONATOR-TYPE MATERIALS Perforated metal wall liners or tiles are examples of resonator materials. and the weight and stiffness of the construction. sound impinging on the holes is absorbed into the cavities. there will be about 5 or 6 dB less transmitted sound. This gives rise to the effect known as the mass law in acoustics which states that for each doubling of the surface weight of the wall. The mass law also states that for each doubling of the frequency (Hz) there will be about 5 or 6 dB less transmitted sound. Sound transmission through walls. When a metal perforated liner is applied. This is because it is difficult for sound waves in air to move or excite a dense. When the diameter of the hole or length of cavity behind it is changed—as when a larger pop bottle is used or you fill the bottle with water—the frequency of resonance also changes. Doubling of the frequency has about the same effect as doubling the surface weight.TL is calculated using the following equation: TL (dB) = 10 log 1/τ = 10 log Wi/Wt Where: τ Wi Wt = sound transmission coefficient. blowing across the opening produces a tone at its natural frequency of resonance. floors or ceilings varies with sound frequency. ratio of the PWL incident on one side to PWL on the other side = incident sound power (PWL on source side) = transmitted sound power (PWL on the receiver side) As a general rule.

cork or glass fiber materials.circular waves. Vibration isolators lower the vibration at its source. concrete or masonry. With wood. Vibrations from rattling machinery travel easily through solid structures like wood. For example. other compressed material (cork). ribbed Neoprene). such as coiled springs. steel springs are undamped and placing them on elastomer pads. Damping materials create mechanical resistance to the structure-borne sound by converting sound energy into heat through friction. 41 . An example of a damping material is the spray-on coating compound placed under automobiles. vibrations are attenuated 2 dB in 30 meters (100 feet). and metal springs. an engine bolted onto a metal skid that’s bolted to the floor transmits huge amounts of acoustical energy through to the structure. and rubber. Vibration isolators can be made from elastomers (compressed or shear. VIBRATION ISOLATORS Vibration isolation is also used to reduce the transmission of noise through a structure. sound is actually diffused and noise levels are reduced. felt. while steel requires 20 times the distance for the same attenuation. improves their level of vibration isolation. which are as different as possible from the structure or mechanism. concrete and bricks. Structure-borne noise is a term used to describe mechanical vibrations carried from machinery through to a building’s structure. For example. Vibration isolators are often used in conjunction with damping materials. The holes of liners can be sized and aligned in such a way that sound is absorbed and diffused at specific frequencies. steel. DAMPING MATERIALS Damping materials are used to reduce structure borne noise. fibrous mats (felt and glass fiber). They are elastic elements.

800 meters (approximately 5. The aim of attenuation is to reduce or divert the amount of sound energy reaching the receiver. can easily slip over berms. Attenuation is defined as the difference in dB or dBA between two points in and along the path of sound propagation. 50 feet tall. Noise controls range from the simple to complex. it could take as much as 1. NATURAL BARRIERS Shrubs. trees and berms are often used as natural noise blockers.900 feet) to reach 75 dB at the NSR when the source noise is a high as 140 dB. Barriers reduce sound levels. particularly during the winter when trees lose their foliage. When only a line of deciduous trees is planted. Establishing a buffer zone is possible when land is readily available. BARRIERS Barriers are free-standing walls or structures intended to block source noise. For trees to be effective barriers. have dense foliage down to the ground. and be evergreen. Low frequency noise.ATTENUATION Once the noise sources are identified and measured. The barrier functions by absorbing a large amount of the sound energy and/or deflecting it away from the source. Recalling the 6 dB rule. Barriers are most effective when they are at least three times larger 42 . but work best at reducing high frequency noise. Berms are more effective in stopping high frequency noise. However. with its long wavelength. BUFFERS One of the simplest attenuation methods is to place enough distance between the noise source and the NSR so that noise is not a concern. they must be in a continuous stand. it usually takes a large amount of land to stop noise from affecting the surrounding environment. the next step is to attenuate the noise. 100 feet deep. noise easily travels through the stand. The key to attenuation is to apply noise control materials and measures that are both effective and economical.

Jokel. Heat build-up is handled by adding a ventilation blower. Charles R. and Laymon N. Typically. defined as the reduction of sound pressure level at some position that occurs after the enclosure is installed. four-sided without a roof.56. a total enclosure may be needed to contain the noise. and so on.than the wavelength of the major noise contributor. Industrial Noise Control Manual. The Insertion Loss (IL) is a measurement of enclosure performance. Concrete walls are often used as barriers. Barriers made from a combination of sound-absorbing and transmission loss materials give highest acoustic performance.4 For best results. enclosures can create heat build-up. barriers should have a high transmission loss and be highly absorptive. Massachusetts: Bolt Beranek and Newman. acoustic enclosures are modular boxes with relatively high transmission loss and absorptive internal surfaces placed over noise sources. so barriers made from concrete reflect sound rather than absorb it. Fans and 4 Paul Jensen. As a dense material. Miller. 1984: p. ACOUSTICAL ENCLOSURES If more than 12 to 15 dB of noise reduction are required. 43 . Insertion loss of an acoustic enclosure can be estimated as: IL = TL + 10 log α Where: TL = Transmission Loss α = absorption coefficient By virtue of their design. Reprint. Cambridge. three-sided with a roof. concrete is a better sound insulator than sound absorber. with silencers for intake and exhaust air. Partial enclosures come in a variety of configurations: two-sided. When a barrier is wrapped around a noise source. Barriers and partial enclosures can be effective and economical noise reducers. lowering noise levels by up to 12 or 15 dB. it acts as a partial enclosure.

internal ducting also are needed to supply cool air and remove hot air. electricity and lighting. damping materials. few walls or barriers behave exactly according to the mass law. However. Industrial Noise Control: Fundamentals and Applications. the envelope is usually comprised of all the materials used to attenuate sound: acoustical materials.76 W/ ∆T. and ∆T. dense walls provide better attenuation. Inc. but higher attenuation is sometimes needed. At sea level. The building walls and roof are termed the acoustic envelope. water and/or steam. mass law applies so that thick. barrier materials. 44 . Q (in cubic meters or feet per minute). New York and Basel: Marcel Dekker. the watts of heat generated. cracks under doors and at panel joints. the temperature rise permitted. Standard enclosures provided by manufacturers are designed to meet an 85 dBA limit (at one meter). Q = 1. 5 Lewis H. In the design of the envelope. The minimum flow rate of cooling air. depends on W. acoustical equipment enclosures are not enough to reduce noise to required levels. Even a slight opening (such as which occurs along an ill-fitting panel joint) can cause a huge reduction in attenuation (as high as 30 dB). An acoustical building is similar to an enclosure. Most enclosures need openings to provide gas. highly acoustical enclosures or acoustical treatment of the building in addition to the enclosure provide alternatives. 1982. Because of this. engine intake and exhaust ducts.5 ACOUSTICAL BUILDINGS Sometimes. and vibration isolators. they have elasticity so that vibrations can occur.. Bell. The enclosure must be air tight to reduce the amount of interior noise radiating through ventilation openings. but on a larger scale. pipe penetrations and other openings. Customized. Access to the machine through doors or removable panels is also required for maintenance and servicing.

with the result that walls appearing to have adequate STC ratings often fall below what 45 . The TL values are plotted on semi-log paper against a reference contour produced by the ASTM. normal speech inaudible Loud speech and average radio and TV. Table 7: STC Ratings and Their Relationship to Sound Proofing Properties Soundproofing Properties Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent STC Rating 25-30 30-35 35-40 40-50 50+ Speech Comparisons Normal speech understood easily and distinctly through a wall Loud speech understood. producing the STC value. For this reason. only faintly audible Very loud noises and hi-fi faint or inaudible The STC standard applies to frequencies from 125 to 4000 Hz. comparisons are difficult because actual measurements of Transmission Loss deviate widely even in controlled acoustic laboratories. a wall of STC 50 dB has greater attenuation capability than a wall of STC 40 dB. normal speech audible but understood with difficulty Loud speech audible but not understood. The higher the STC rating. the standard does not sufficiently consider the importance of low frequency attenuation. For example. Without the STC. where resonance and other elements affect a sound’s behavior. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) has introduced the Standard Transmission Classification (STC) to allow for the comparison of various types of acoustical walls and roofs according to their Transmission Loss properties. The STC rating is derived from the TL value of a wall measured at different octave band frequencies. the better a wall or roof insulates against noise.The acoustic performance of a wall structure of a building is often described by an STC (Standard Transmission Class) rating.

2. There is no technical distinction between a silencer or muffler. the building must be made airtight and silencers installed where air is ventilated. Openings can also have a significant effect on the TL of a building wall or roof. and the terms are used interchangeably. Noise reduction (NR) is defined as the difference between the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) measured at the source side of a muffler and the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) measured at the receiving side. a heavy metal plate with holes over 13% of its surface will transmit 97% of the sound impinging on it. Silencer performance is described using the same terms that are applied to acoustic enclosures or buildings. Transmission Loss (TL) is the ratio of the sound power impinging upon the silencer (at the source side or silencer entrance) to the sound power transmitted by the silencer (at the receiving side or the silencer exit). Insertion Loss (IL) is the difference in sound pressure at the same point before and after a silencer has been installed.is required. As an example. 3. The ASTM also cautions that its system is not intended for use with external wall structures or barriers. Dynamic insertion loss (DIL) is the reduction in the sound level under actual operating conditions. 46 . 1. The PWL or Lw of a sound that will pass through an opening is approximately determined using the equation: Lw = Lp + 10 log A Where: Lp A = Sound Pressure Level measured at or near the opening = the cross-sectional area of the opening in square meters To reduce the amount of interior noise radiating through apertures. SILENCERS Silencers or mufflers are widely used to control noise from building openings.

each covered by a perforated liner. such as on the intake (suction) and exhaust (discharge) of centrifugal compressors. forced draft fans. The “filter” part is a fibrous material (usually glass or mineral wool). Baffles are placed parallel to the air or gas flow and are particularly useful in applications where pressure losses need to be kept at a minimum. which accommodate inlet or discharge flows. the narrowness of the spacing and longer the length.Silencers are of two basic types: 1) absorptive or 2) reactive. Figure 25: Example of Parallel Baffles Baffles 47 . steam or process vents and similar equipment. gas turbines. Absorptive silencers contain acoustic materials and rely on the absorptive properties of these materials to limit noise. They are used to treat noise where large volumes of air or gas need to be moved at relatively low static pressure. The acoustical performance of baffles increases with the thickness of the absorbing materials. stacks. The simplest form of an absorptive silencer is a parallel baffle. Parallel baffles look like a line of furnace filters. etc. Baffles are typically inserted into ducts.

particularly in the lower frequencies. For higher acoustic performance. The reactive (reflective) silencer contains one or more chambers and perforated tubes inside a casing. A portion of the sound energy entering the silencer is reflected from the chamber casing back to the sound source. called an absorptive silencer. 48 . Lagging of the silencer is also sometimes needed to improve acoustic performance.A parallel baffle can be made in tubular form to allow for interfacing with circular inlets and exhausts. but no absorption materials. Custom-made silencer designs with multiple chambers in addition to acoustically-lined baffles are often required to meet operational requirements. Reactive silencers don’t contain absorptive materials but work on the principle of reflection and dissipation of sound waves. Another portion is dissipated through the perforations in the tubes. The reactive silencer is used primarily for low frequency control from blowers and compressors. The tube. a thicker baffle is able to give high attenuation. multiple chambers and perforated tubes of different sizes are used. What is done when noise and flow move in the same direction—as is the case with discharge systems—is to narrow the space between baffles rather than increase their thickness. For exhaust openings. Higher performance silencers combine both absorptive and reactive principles in their construction. consists of straight runs of acoustically-lined baffles inserted behind perforated metal sheets and wrapped around in heavy gauge steel. a thick baffle can actually decrease attenuation. When a silencer is placed at an inlet opening.

plenums are lined with porous materials. 49. p. As a chamber. WI: Universal Silencer. When required. When used for noise control. an entire building can be designed and acoustically-lined to work as an acoustic plenum.Figure 26: Example of an Absorptive-Reactive Silencer Multiple Chambers Absorption Material Source: Jim R. Silencer Application Handbook. 1993. acoustic plenums can be found just about anywhere in industry. Plenums are also used to slow down high velocity air. 49 . Stoughton. Cummins and Bill Golden. acoustic plenums are especially designed for the inlet and exhaust ends of gas turbines. ACOUSTIC PLENUMS A type of chamber that operates like a reactive silencer is called a plenum. For example.

Figure 27: Example of an Acoustic Plenum ACOUSTIC LOUVERS Louvers are designed to eliminate the line-of-sight from the source to the outside. Louvers are overlapping slats designed to admit air into a building and exclude rain. The slats are typically lined with porous materials. They can also be acoustically treated to limit noise from air flowing in and out of a building. the spacing and length of the slats and thickness of porous material determines acoustical performance. Like baffles. 50 .

NOISE CONTROL APPLICATIONS ATCO ACOUSTIC ASSEMBLIES ATCO has developed a line of Noise Management™ assemblies from sound-absorbing. The assemblies are either whole-wall systems or acoustic panels. or polyurethane foam) with an outer layer of dense vinyl or sheet metal. and resonator-type materials and that include vibration isolation and damping. barrier. Lagging is often placed around pipes but acoustical wrapping can be applied to noisy equipment or even silencers. Lagging typically consists of sound absorbing material (fibrous glass. mineral wool. Whole walls are 51 .Figure 28: Example of an Acoustic Louver ACOUSTIC LAGGING Lagging or wrapping of acoustical material is another method of noise control.

a liner that resonates at the lower frequencies may be used. and where building codes require it. The septum layer is dense and has 52 . a layer of acoustic material is applied. The Noise Management™ panels are factory-manufactured and assembled in situ. In colder climates. Figure 29: Example of a Noise Management™ Assembly Each assembly starts with a perforated metal liner.erected in layers at the site. Multiple acoustic layers are used if the wall must achieve very high acoustic performance. starting from the inside. Since industrial noise is generally broad band with a heavy low frequency component. To achieve such performance. It protects the sound absorbing materials and may act as a resonate type of sound absorber. Next. The liner can serve two purposes. a barrier material or septum layer (or layers) is placed between the acoustic materials. Liners can be selected based on the dominant noise frequency. a fire-resistant vapor barrier is installed next to the liner to control condensation.

damping and vibration isolators are used to reduce flanking (also called structure borne noise). Many contour maps use purple and red to display high noise levels.. leak proof facing (e. The model generates noise level contours from the industrial site out to the NSR before acoustic treatment. The Sound Power Levels of each source is entered into an acoustic model.high Transmission Loss. and shades of green to represent lower noise levels. The outermost layer of the wall structure is a protective. A concrete block wall is massive but it is very reflective and even when absorptive materials are applied to the surface.g. they can be significantly lighter than concrete to achieve the same attenuation level. because ATCO’s assemblies have both high absorption and transmission loss. ATCO’S BALANCED APPROACH Acoustically treating the enclosure or building envelope represents one aspect of noise control. metal cladding. A balanced approach is needed to provide both effective and economical noise reduction. sound waves passing through the materials are reflected off the concrete blocks—some.). In a balanced approach. back into the room. which can be over 200 in a facility like a power plant. ATCO’s acoustic assemblies are applied over structural steel frames rather than affixed to concrete block walls because the assemblies can be made highly sound absorptive. brick. all noise sources are identified. etc. In addition. When using steel framework. 53 .

Figure 30: Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant Before Acoustic Treatment 54 .

Figure 31: Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant After Acoustic Treatment 55 .

Plus. In a balanced design. Figure 32 depicts ATCO’s balanced approach. the acoustical target for the exhaust silencer could be relaxed — often a cheaper alternative. 56 . the aim is to select an acoustical approach that meets the noise requirement at an affordable price.A benefit to using computer modeling is that various acoustic treatments can be applied to a site “on paper”. For example. making the walls and roof of higher attenuation. Walls with higher STC values are used to the north and west of the power plant. lagging. closest to the affected residences. plenums. Silencers are placed at building openings to limit noise. The various acoustic treatment scenarios include one or all of the noise control elements: acoustic envelope. and so on. Less acoustic (and less expensive) walls are used to the south and east. the DIL performance of the silencers is balanced with the TL performance of the building’s walls to achieve the most cost-effective acoustic treatment. furthest away from the community. This allows a view of the acoustic alternatives before any commitment is made to the type (and cost) of treatment. silencers.

Figure 32: Example of ATCO’s Balanced Approach Northwest View of the Acoustical Treatment of a 110 MW Power Plant 57 .

58 . which do not permit accurate recording of long low frequency wavelengths.5 to 100 Hz). Tests involve the determination of the NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) and STC (Standard Transmission Class). To test acoustic performance below the 100 Hz octave band (31. tests must be conducted in the field.Southeast View of the Acoustical Treatment of a 110 MW Power Plant TESTING AND GUARANTEES ATCO’s assemblies are tested at certified acoustical laboratories. Measurements within the range of 100 to 5000 Hz are conducted in an acoustical laboratory. Sound pressure measurements are made at all frequencies. The reason why tests below 100 Hz are not made is due to the small size of most acoustical laboratories.

Figure 33: Sample Acoustical Test 59 .

ATCO also guarantees that the noise target will be met using its balanced approach to the noise problem. 60 .Because ATCO tests the Noise Management™ assemblies in the laboratory as well as in the field. the company can guarantee their acoustic performance.

. Laymon N.H. Bell. (1973). Lewis. 1984. F. Trumbull. The Master Handbook of Acoustics. Rev. Cambridge. Charles R. Everest. 3rd ed. Miller. New York and Basel: Marcel Dekker. ed. Fundamentals of Industrial Noise Control. 61 . Jokel.Useful Sources Bell. Inc. (1994).. Inc. Industrial Noise Control: Fundamentals and Applications. Alton. Jensen. Paul. Lewis H. CT: Harmony Publications. New York.: Tab Books. (1982). Industrial Noise Control Manual. MA: Bolt Berank and Newman.

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