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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... Comparison Between the Pascal and Decibel Scales………………….. 3 dB Near Field and 6 dB Far Field Guideline for a Point Source……. Broad Band Noise…………………………………………………………. Sound Pressure Decreases 6 dB for Each Doubling of Distance……..... One-Third Octave Band and Octave Band…………….. C and D Weighting Networks. Wavelength………………………………………………………………….. Common Noise Level Criteria Used by Regulators……………………. Refraction of Sound………………………………………………………… Equivalent Continuous Sound Pressure Level (Leq)……………………... Impulsive Noise…………………………………………………………….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…………………………………………………..……………………………………… Doubling Sound Pressure Adds 3 dB……………………………………. Transmission Loss (TL) for Two Walls…………………………………… Example of Parallel Baffles………………………………………………. Example of an Acoustic Plenum………………………………………….………………………. A. Narrow Band. Sound Propagation from a Line Source…………………………………. B... 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 . Comparison of Sound Power (PWL or Lw) and Sound Pressure (SPL or Lp)…………………………………………………………………………. Example of an Absorptive-Reactive Silencer……………………………... Wavelength and Frequency……………………………………………….. What Happens When Sound Waves Encounter an Obstacle…………..... Equal Loudness Contours…………………………………………………. Structure Borne Noise……………………………………………………… Near Field and Far Field…………………………………………………… Sound Intensity……………………………………. Example of a Noise Level Spectrum……………………………………… Discrete Frequency (Tonal) Noise……………………………………….

.. 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…………………………. Example of ATCO’s Balanced Approach………………………………… Sample Acoustical Test……………………………………………………. Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant After Acoustic Treatment……. Noise Contour Levels at a Power Plant Before Acoustic Treatment….

. Sampling of Noise from Sources at a Peaking Power Plant……. Examples of Community Noise Guidelines……………………….. STC Ratings and Their Relationship to Sound Proofing Properties…. 16 Table 2: 19 21 22 25 36 Table 3: Table 4: Table 5: Table 6: Table 7: 45 vi ...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………………………………….

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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Low frequency noises have long wavelengths and high frequency noises have short ones. it is important to know the wavelength of the different frequencies. the object in the sound path must be larger than one wavelength to significantly disturb the sound. so an object must be larger than 17 meters wide and high to block the sound waves.7 inches). the wavelength shortens to 1. 4 . At 20.000 Hz. At 20 Hz.7 centimeters (. 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). In general.Figure 2: Wavelength When designing an acoustical solution to industrial noise.

A color spectrum results when light passes through a prism.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. A sound or noise spectrum is produced when sound is passed through a spectrum analyzer. Figure 4: Example of a Noise Level Spectrum 5 .

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

Vér. “Damage Risk Criteria for Hearing and Human Body Vibration.Figure 6: Broad Band Noise The noise levels shown in Fig.1 1 Henning E.5 seconds. 6 were emitted by the engine exhaust of a Solar Mars Centaur 40S. p. and.” in Noise and Vibration Control Engineering: Principles and Applications. Inc. Leo L. Peak pressures rise at least 40 dB in 0. 7 .. 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). intermittent noise (noise that returns to the ambient or background level). Nixon. eds. Von Gierke and Charles W. more commonly.: John Wiley & Sons. impulsive noise (sounds of short duration with high peak pressures). 595. New York. Beranke and Istaván L.

For example. Examples of the three most common types of frequency analyses are narrow band. a noise spectrum is studied. just like octaves on a piano. 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. Most Commonly Used Octave Bands in Industrial Noise Studies 31. one-third octave band and the octave band. each containing lesser amounts of detail. Nine octave bands are most often used when measuring sound. the frequency range is apportioned into a set of broader ranges. Instead. the 1000 Hz octave band is centered at 1000 Hz and extends from 707 Hz to 1414 Hz. 8 . An octave band is defined as a range of frequencies extending from one frequency to exactly double that frequency.Figure 7: Impulsive Noise OCTAVE BANDS Frequencies are divided into octaves. However.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.

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

Zero dB or 2 x 10 –5 Pa is the lowest pressure a young adult can detect of a pure tone at 1000 Hz. a blowdown vent opening can produce sounds of 170 dB. Most continuous noise sources emit sound pressure levels between 0 to 150 dB. A pressure change of 20µPa is equivalent to 5 billion times less than normal atmospheric pressure. A level of 150 dB is equivalent to a jet aircraft at take off. 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. The decibel scale was devised to make calculations of noise levels manageable. For example. 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. which uses 2 x 10 –5 Pa as the starting point of zero (0) dB. Noise levels over 150 dB can occur.DECIBEL (DB) AND A-WEIGHTED DECIBEL (DBA) SCALE The size or amplitude of pressure changes is measured in decibels or 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. while the space shuttle is recorded at 180 dB.

The B weightings. A correction factor was devised to change unweighted decibels (dB). 100 dB – 39. and D — which are either used in special circumstances or are obsolete.5 Hz band has a correction factor of –39. 100 dB – 0 = 100 dBA).. initial calculations of the noise level might be made in dB.5 Hz band.e. Sometimes it is necessary to convert from the dB to dBA scale and vice versa. Subtract 39.4 from 100 dB (i. However. The answer—60. In this case. then converted to dBA.4. the decibel scale still doesn’t replicate what the human ear actually hears. There exist three additional weighting networks — B. emphasizing middle frequencies. to A-weighted decibels (dBA). D weightings are used when very high frequencies.. both the dB and dBA scale can be used interchangeably. For example.The decibel scale is a closer approximation to the sounds heard by the human ear than the Pascal scale.4 = 60. 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. like those emitted from jet engines. For purposes of noise control. 11 . By contrast. need to be attenuated.6 dBA—is how “loud” the 100 dB sound is perceived by the human ear in the 31. also known as the linear scale. C. are no longer in use. Example: A 100 dB sound in the 31. because the human ear is able to react to exponential changes in sound pressure. whereas the community noise requirement is stated for dBA. a manufacturer might provide the noise level of a machine in dB.6 dBA). To quantify the sensitivity of humans to sound the A-weighted decibel or dBA scale (also written dB(A)) was created. C weightings are used because they attenuate low frequencies much less than the other weightings. the same 100 dB sound is perceived by the human ear exactly as 100 dBA when frequencies are in the 1000 Hz band (i.e. When low frequency noise is of concern.

4 -3 -2 -1.5 0 0 0 0 2 5. the human ear’s range starts at the threshold of hearing (0 dB) and ends at the threshold of pain (around 140 dB).5 -3 -2 -1 -0.8 -3.2 -1.7 -50.5 -0. B.1 -0. C and D Weighting Networks Frequency 10 12.3 -0.4 -5.9 -4. This translates into a range of frequencies from 20 Hz to 20.2 -22.2 -20.4 -63.4 -56.4 -17.3 -11.5 -24.8 -1.7 -1.8 -0.5 -16.4 -11.5 -22.000 Hz for a healthy human ear.5 -18.5 -6 -4.6 -4.9 -2.2 -0.3 1.5 -0.1 Curve C dB -14.1 -14.3 -0.5 -20.5 -44.5 16 20 25 31.5 -11.2 -33.1 -16.4 -34.5 LOUDNESS Sound is defined as any pressure variation heard by the human ear.4 -10.5 -4.5 -6.3 -6.6 -30.5 -11 -9 -7.5 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 -70.4 -6.3 Curve B dB -38.2 -8.2 -4.9 -8.5 -0.2 -8.1 -2.3 -7.5 -12.3 -2 -3 -4.5 -24.2 -3 -2 -1.2 -28.6 1 1.1 -8.8 -0.2 -26.6 -9.6 -9.5 -19.3 -6.1 -1.6 -4.2 -1.Figure 10: A.3 -0.2 -0.1 -0.3 -0.2 -0.8 0 0. In terms of sound pressure.1 0 0 0 0 -0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0. 12 .2 Curve D dB -26.6 -6.5 -14.2 -11.3 -0.7 -39.2 1 0.4 -0.5 8 10 11 11 11 10 8.2 1.5 6 3 -4 -7.1 -13.5 -0.9 -0.

Similarly. adding together two identical noise sources of 85 dB results in a total noise level of 88 dB (85 dB + 85 dB = 88 dB). a doubling in sound pressure results in a 3 dB increase in the noise level (not a 10 dB increase as with loudness). As a rule of thumb. The 10 dB loudness rule is not the same as a common guideline used when decibels are added (or subtracted) together. for each 10 dB decrease in sound pressure. 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 . a doubling in the loudness of the sound occurs with every increase of 10 dB in sound pressure.The human ear is less sensitive to sound pressure variations in the low frequencies compared to the higher frequencies. 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. the loudness is cut in half. For example.

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 . Vibrations from very low frequency sounds can rattle dishes and shake home foundations even though they can’t be heard.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. In practice. What is interpreted as loud noise by one individual may not be loud or noise to another. loudness plays a small role in noise control because it is subjective and varies from person to person. 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. Figure 12: Equal Loudness Contours Equal loudness curves show the relative lack of sensitivity of the human ear to low frequencies. However. Of note is that human beings do not hear sounds in the very low frequencies. When dealing with sound.

These machines.pounds per square inch. a reference sound power has been established. It is measured in watts (W). and referred to as the Sound Pressure Level (SPL or Lp ). emit energy in the form of power. The equation used to calculate the Sound Power Level is: PWL or Lw = 10 log10 (W / W0) Or. The acoustic energy radiating from a machine is termed sound power.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: 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 power is expressed in horsepower. the unit used to describe your car’s performance. abbreviated as PWL or Lw. The equation used to calculate the Sound Pressure Level is: SPL or Lp = Or. The scale starts at zero decibels and the international standard of pressure change of 2 x 10 –5 Pa. abbreviated as psi) to larger pressure changes like explosions inside reciprocating engines and gas turbines. sound pressure is converted into decibels. 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 . To measure such wide pressure changes (or amplitude). is sound energy after it is converted into decibels. Sound power is defined as the average rate at which sound energy is radiated from a sound source. The Sound Power Level. such as gas turbines. This reference is 10 –12 x watt (W). Like sound pressure. heat and sound.

SPL. on the other hand. 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 . It cannot be measured directly. 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. is like the amount of light produced at a given distance from the bulb in a specific environment.Example: 1. but must be calculated from the Sound Pressure Level.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.

we first measure the Sound Pressure Level—usually at one meter from the machine.225 kilograms per cubic meter in air Since Po2 = (20 x 10 –5 )2 Pa 2 W0ρC = 1 x 10 –12 x 1. Manufacturers will often make available the SPL and equipment dimensions upon request.225 kg/m3 x 340. a microphone picks up the same pressure changes as the human ear. 1.96) = -0. PWL or Lw ≅ SPL + 10 log (A ) represents an approximation of the Sound Power Level. 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. 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.96 and 10 log (0. all acoustic calculations involving distance use metric units. measured. Hence the formula.18. 17 . Also needed to calculate the PWL is the size (or dimension) of the noise source. the Sound Pressure Level is relatively easy to measure.3 m2 And Po2 ÷ W0 ρC= 0. the PWL cannot be Note: Unless otherwise indicated. it must be calculated. To calculate the PWL.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.3 meters per second density of medium. However.

This same analogy can be applied to sound. 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. A radio and orchestra might produce the same Sound Pressure Level (e. 85 dB) at a certain distance. The amount of electricity used to heat the pin is much less than the energy emitted by the element.. 18 .g. The peak noise level is often the level that is attenuated.measurement doesn’t represent the acoustical energy (sound power) of a machine. particularly when it is causing discomfort to residents in the neighborhood. 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. Recall the noise peaks that occur at discrete frequencies for most industrial equipment. but the orchestra emits substantially higher amounts of acoustical energy with a correspondingly greater impact on the environment.

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) 31.0 106. 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.0 107. Ontario.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.5 98.0 100.5 114.0 Equipment Item LM6000 Enclosure HRSG Body Inlet Filter * PWLs for select equipment at 110 MW power station in Iroquois Falls.5 122.5 96.5/10 + 1084.5 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 124.5 99.0 116.0 117.0 112.783 x 1012) PWL or Lw Total = 126.5/10 + 10106.0 84.0 120.5/10 + 1087.5/10 + 1077.0 87.0 113.5 97. To obtain the total A-weighted PWL for single noise source.5 89.5/10 + 10117.0 77. a 19 . 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.0 107. Total = 10 * log10 [ Σ 10 Lw. Ontario: PWL or LwTotal = 10 * log10 (10 124.0 113.5 106. CALCULATING THE TOTAL PWL FOR A SINGLE NOISE SOURCE After a machine’s PWL is calculated for each octave band frequency.5/10 + 10100.0 92.5/1) PWL or Lw Total = 10 * log 10 (4. i /10 ] i=1 Where: L w.5 103.0 108.5/10 + 10120.5/10 + 10113.0 102.0 120. 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 88.6 104. 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.3 100. Example: Calculating A-weighted PWL’s using the table method.5 -26.4 85. apply the correction factor from Table 3 to obtain the A-weighted result.5 1.4 113.5 -3.2 85.2 103.9 106. which are often driven by two or more gas turbines.3 117. Taking the linear PWL at each frequency for a combustion exhaust.5 -39. 20 .4 CALCULATING THE TOTAL PWL OF NUMEROUS NOISE SOURCES In most industrial facilities. given in Figure 10.5 0 100.5 -16. is added to the unweighted PWL (known as the linear PWL) at each octave band frequency.1 76.1 120.correction factor. Table 3 gives a sampling of some of the major noise sources associated with a single gas turbine at a peaking power plant. 31.5 84. sound is emitted from many sources.7 87.5 -1. Then.5 1.5 77.5 -8.2 94.5Hz Take Unweighted PWLs LM 6000 Enclosure Add A-Weighted Correction Factor Obtain A-Weighted PWL Result 63Hz 125Hz 250Hz 500Hz 1000Hz 2000Hz 4000Hz 8000Hz 124.1 101.

8 103.0 104.0 93.5 103.3 98.9 92.7 93.3 112.4 92.0 109.3 79.0 92.0 91.0 145.0 90.8 36.0 104.0 60.5Hz 63Hz 125Hz 250Hz 500Hz 1000Hz 2000Hz 4000Hz 8000Hz Total dB 105.4 45.0/10 + 1092.9 111.8 108.1 117.3 93.0 83.28 x 1013 ) 131.4 53.5 110.1 88.6 112.4 85. Total = PWL or Lw.8 110.5 107. Example: Calculating the total PWL for all the noise sources in Table 3 at the 31.7 96.2 103.9 108.9 100.8 101.0 98.5 Hz octave band is: PWL or Lw.3 86.0 95.8 109.0 139.0 43.0 106.8 93.9 112.0 102.0 69.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 31.1 109. However.0 95.1 101.4 99.1 102.0 92.0/10) 10 * log 10 (1.7 98.9 100.1 85.2 dB 21 .4 Total dB 131.3 76.4/10 + 10108.4 41.4 38.4 102. The difference is that all source PWLs are typically added (subtracted) up over a single octave band (down a column).7 87.1 96.0 93.5 99.3 104.0 95.1 114.4 46.0 99.7 96.2 The same formula for adding (or subtracting) PWLs for a single noise source is used for adding (or subtracting) multiple-source PWLs.6 102.0 77.0 103.8 84.1 89.2 103.4 94.0 99.0 90.4 98.8 93.0 86.0/10 + 1086.0 86.3 132.0 87.4 63.9 86.3 115.4 87.0 137.8/10 + 10101.9 100.0 116.3/10 + 10131.9 103.0 88.3 131.5 96.9/10 + 10100.0 57.3 139.5 110.1 104.1/10 + 10114.8 51.8 85.3 142. Total = PWL or Lw.0 142.0 132. Total = 10 * log10 (10 100.7 96. you can add (subtract) over the individual noise sources first (across a row) and arrive at the same grand total.8 92.9 101.0 72.4 105.2 108.8 108.0 87.1 100.1 100.0 96.10 103.4 30.0 103.8 81.3 137.8 84.3 145.8 101.3 97.0 110.5 101.0 146.0 97.3 87.0 98.1 96.4/10 + 1092.1/10 + 10101.8 103.0 96.8/10 + 10 108.4 108.0 114.0/10 + 1057.0 87.0 95.3 150.2 104.5 114.9 93.1/10 + 1089.0 99.0 93.2 95.0 89.8 93.1 100.5 98.3 98.6 98.0 98.8 91.1 78.7 98.0 96.0 89.5/10 + 10103.8 85.0 88.0 88.9 92.0 91. then a grand total is calculated for all noise sources over the nine octave bands.0 91.2/10 + 10 103.1 150.8 108.3 100.3 146.4 90.

2 0.1 is added to the subtotal.5 1.0 dB 108.5 0. 0.1 1.1 dB converts to 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. The difference between 109.9 dB and lube oil demister vent noise level of 92.A popular method for adding (or subtracting) PWLs is the table method.2 dB.1 Example: Using the table method to determine the PWL of three of the power plant noise sources in the 31.2 dB. The sum should then be combined with the highest remaining level and so on.2 dB and 92.3 0.2 1.5 2. Next.2 dB for turbine vent and generator noise Add the lube oil demister vent noise to the subtotal. go to Table 5 and add the specified number of dB that correspond to the difference.5 octave band in the example in Table 4: turbine vent noise level of 108. until all levels are combined. first find the difference between the two loudest sources in PWLs.1dB = 109.0 dB is 17.1 dB. a generator noise level of 101.8 1. Looking at Table 5.0 0.2 dB – 101.4 0.9 dB = 6.3 dB for total noise.0 dB.4 dB = 6.8 0. a 6.0 should be added to the highest noise level. 22 . 108. Looking at 17.0 dB = 109.2 dB + 0.2 dB in Table 5.3 dB). 109.2 dB – 103. For example.3 dB difference means 1. Start by subtracting the noise level of the turbine vent noise level from the generator (108. 2 dB + 1.6 0.0 2. 6.

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

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

Size is measured according to the largest dimension of the object.0 0. point sources produce noise that spreads uniformly as a sphere.0 1. sound flows from line sources as a cylindrical wave.5 0. To make corrections the following table method can be used.34 . If the background noise is between 3 dB and 10 dB. S12. 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. So. 25 .5 0.0 1.1988 dB to subtract from sound pressure level 1. 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.If the total noise level is 10 dB greater than the ambient noise level. if the object is a building and the largest dimension is the building’s height.0 PATH SPECIFICS Under free field conditions. a correction is necessary. then an accurate measure is not possible. then the near field would start at the point away from the building that is equivalent to its height. 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. much like water ripples on a pond. By contrast.5 0. If the background noise level is 3 dB or less.

In the free field. Standing at a distance more than 15 meters away places her in the far field. the SPL increases the closer you move toward the noise source and decreases the further you move away. More precisely. the SPL increases or decreases as the inverse square of distance.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 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 .

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

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

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.. 425. the sound spread equates to a 3 dB loss per doubling of distance. For a line source. If sound values between distance points (e. 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.5 meters) are required.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Toronto. Ontario World Health Organization (WHO) Puerto Rico Denver. Colorado Salinas.Figure 23: Common Noise Level Criteria Used by Regulators Table 6: Examples of Community Noise Guidelines Municipality Miami. 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. 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 .

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

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

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

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

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

Berms are more effective in stopping high frequency noise. have dense foliage down to the ground. the next step is to attenuate the noise. with its long wavelength. The aim of attenuation is to reduce or divert the amount of sound energy reaching the receiver. When only a line of deciduous trees is planted. trees and berms are often used as natural noise blockers. For trees to be effective barriers. Barriers are most effective when they are at least three times larger 42 . they must be in a continuous stand. Recalling the 6 dB rule. noise easily travels through the stand. The barrier functions by absorbing a large amount of the sound energy and/or deflecting it away from the source. NATURAL BARRIERS Shrubs.800 meters (approximately 5. 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. 50 feet tall. 100 feet deep.ATTENUATION Once the noise sources are identified and measured. BARRIERS Barriers are free-standing walls or structures intended to block source noise. Barriers reduce sound levels. but work best at reducing high frequency noise. Low frequency noise. particularly during the winter when trees lose their foliage. and be evergreen. Establishing a buffer zone is possible when land is readily available. The key to attenuation is to apply noise control materials and measures that are both effective and economical. it could take as much as 1. it usually takes a large amount of land to stop noise from affecting the surrounding environment. 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. Noise controls range from the simple to complex.900 feet) to reach 75 dB at the NSR when the source noise is a high as 140 dB. However.

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

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

the better a wall or roof insulates against noise. a wall of STC 50 dB has greater attenuation capability than a wall of STC 40 dB. producing the STC value. Without the STC. 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. 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. 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. where resonance and other elements affect a sound’s behavior.The acoustic performance of a wall structure of a building is often described by an STC (Standard Transmission Class) rating. comparisons are difficult because actual measurements of Transmission Loss deviate widely even in controlled acoustic laboratories. only faintly audible Very loud noises and hi-fi faint or inaudible The STC standard applies to frequencies from 125 to 4000 Hz. For this reason. with the result that walls appearing to have adequate STC ratings often fall below what 45 . The higher the STC rating. For example. the standard does not sufficiently consider the importance of low frequency attenuation. normal speech audible but understood with difficulty Loud speech audible but not understood.

There is no technical distinction between a silencer or muffler. and the terms are used interchangeably. 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. the building must be made airtight and silencers installed where air is ventilated. 46 . As an example. SILENCERS Silencers or mufflers are widely used to control noise from building openings. Silencer performance is described using the same terms that are applied to acoustic enclosures or buildings. Insertion Loss (IL) is the difference in sound pressure at the same point before and after a silencer has been installed. 1. The ASTM also cautions that its system is not intended for use with external wall structures or barriers. 3. a heavy metal plate with holes over 13% of its surface will transmit 97% of the sound impinging on it.is required. 2. Dynamic insertion loss (DIL) is the reduction in the sound level under actual operating conditions. 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). Openings can also have a significant effect on the TL of a building wall or roof. 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.

etc. The “filter” part is a fibrous material (usually glass or mineral wool). Absorptive silencers contain acoustic materials and rely on the absorptive properties of these materials to limit noise. the narrowness of the spacing and longer the length. stacks. Figure 25: Example of Parallel Baffles Baffles 47 . The simplest form of an absorptive silencer is a parallel baffle. Parallel baffles look like a line of furnace filters. gas turbines.Silencers are of two basic types: 1) absorptive or 2) reactive. such as on the intake (suction) and exhaust (discharge) of centrifugal compressors. steam or process vents and similar equipment. 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. 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. forced draft fans. each covered by a perforated liner. Baffles are typically inserted into ducts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

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. silencers. For example. In a balanced design. This allows a view of the acoustic alternatives before any commitment is made to the type (and cost) of treatment. Walls with higher STC values are used to the north and west of the power plant. closest to the affected residences. the aim is to select an acoustical approach that meets the noise requirement at an affordable price. 56 . Plus. lagging. and so on.A benefit to using computer modeling is that various acoustic treatments can be applied to a site “on paper”. Figure 32 depicts ATCO’s balanced approach. making the walls and roof of higher attenuation. the acoustical target for the exhaust silencer could be relaxed — often a cheaper alternative. plenums. furthest away from the community. 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.

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

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

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.

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

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