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UNIT 4 Environmental Noise Control Noise sources, air borne and structure borne sound, NC curve, Propagation of noise

of mechanical operation and impact noise, sound transmission through wall and partition, Vibration isolation control of mechanical noise, floating floor, wall, ceiling treatment. Design Principlesreduction of noise at the source, Reduction of noise near the source. Application of sound absorption material, Reduction of noise by Town Planning and Regional Planning consideration.

Noise Pollution[Environmental Noise]

1. Definition of Noise It is any unwanted, disturbing or harmful sound that impairs or interferes with hearing, causes stress, hinders concentration and work efficiency, or causes accidents. It can also be defined as displeasing human or machine created sound that disrupts the activity or happiness of human or animal life. The sensation of loudness is related to the intensity of the energy carried by the sound waves and is measured in units of decibels (dB). Sound pressure becomes damaging at about 85 dB and painful at around 120 dB At 180 dB it can kill. Human ears can take sound up to about 60dB without damage or hearing loss.

2. Sources of noise pollution The source of most noise worldwide is 1. Transportation systems, motor vehicle noise, but also including air craft noise and rail noise. 2. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, since side-byside industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area. 3. Office equipment, factory machinery, construction work, appliances, power tools, lighting hum and audio entertainment systems. 4. The sound of an automobile is about 70 dB; the sound of a jet air craft taking off, about 120dB; sound level in the interior of a home is about 45 dB So, prolonged exposure to sound levels above 85dB can cause permanent hearing damage. 5. Noise in the range of 50-60 dB is sufficient to interfere with sleep, producing a feeling of fatigue upon awakening.

3. Environmental effects 1. Can have a detrimental effect on animals by causing stress, increasing risk of mortality by changing the delicate balance in predator/prey detection and avoidance. 2. Interfering with animals use of sounds in communication especially in relation to reproduction and in navigation. 3. Can lead to temporary or permanent loss of hearing to animals. 4. Very loud noise may affect plant growth indirectly because it produces vibrations that shake the plants.

4. Environmental effects of noise depends on 1. Total energy 2. Sounds pitch 3. Frequency 4. Time pattern and, 5. Length of exposure to the sound.

5. Noise levels of common sounds Pain Aircraft taking off Loud Rock Music Semi Truck (short term hazard) Jack Hammer Traffic (occupational limit) Conversation Background office noise Windmill Quiet bedroom Threshold of hearing 130 dB 120 dB 110 dB 100 dB 90 dB 80 dB 70 dB 60 dB 50 dB 40 dB 30 dB 20 dB 10 dB 0 dB

6. Noise and Noise Control 1. Noise and People

Noise is unwanted sound. It can not be completely eliminated but its intensity can be reduced by proper treatment, such as 1. Proper design, insulation and maintenance 2. Placing massive structure around the sound source to reflect sound before it reaches the receiving-room. 3. Using interference and resonance attenuators 4. Anti-vibration mountings 5. Flexible belows 6. Anti-vibration hangers 7. Acoustic louvers 8. Layers of soft resilient materials on floors to isolate vibrating, noisy equipments from conveying vibration to structures. Such prefabricated mounts and bases are commercially available. 9. Make conduit and pipe-connections flexible and floppy. Isolate them from main structure by resilient materials and make them air-tight.

6. Noise and Noise Control 2. Noise Pollution and People

Noise pollution creates obstruction for carrying out normal, desired activities in three ways

1. Physically 2. Psychologically 3. Physiologically

E.g. Sleep Interferences E.g. Annoyance E.g. Health Hazards

6. Noise and Noise Control 2.1 Physically E.g. Sleep Interferences

1. Delayed onslaught i.e. delay in falling asleep 2. Fatigue (a) Walking in sleep (b) Loss in efficiency in normal working (c) Disturbed sleep (Noise above 50 dB) Rhythmic-noise can be tolerated but intermittent noise with sharp peaks has pronounced effects.

6. Noise and Noise Control 2.2 Psychologically E.g. Annoyance

1. Sudden changes in noise level (above 60-70 dB) makes concentration on the work at hand. 2. The intensity, spectral complexity i.e. different frequencies of sound, duration etc. contributes to annoyance. 3. The degree depends upon the individual and also upon the age group.

6. Noise and Noise Control 2.3 Physiologically


E.g. Health Hazards

Prolonged exposure to noise of low level can lead to degeneration of ear cells. High level can lead to structural changes, called Acoustical Trauma.


Sensitivity of the ear decreases due to continuous exposure to noise from air-port, Heavy traffic, Working with noisy machines etc.


The middle-ear is damaged by noise level above 120 dB, when the ear-drum can be ruptured.

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Abrupt changes in sound pressure is also dangerous (e.g. Explosions, Firing etc.) The inner ear is sensitive to even low-levels if these are prolonged. Working for 8 hrs. per day in a factory with 80 dB lvl. may lead to Deaf-ness.

6. Noise and Noise Control 2.3 Physiologically E.g. Health Hazards

6. An exposure to noise of 100 dB (frequency range of 50 to 5000 Hz) gives i) Shrinking of visual field. ii) Faulty judging of depth iii) Less precision iv) Decrease in speed of colour perception 7. Noise interacts with cardio-vascular-system, have harmful effects above 85 dB. i) Worker with high B.P. indicates changes in heart beats ii) Changes in performance iii) Loss in vigilance iv) Slow intellectual development in children 8. WHO recommends interior night-time-sound-level around 35 dB. However a low level back-ground noise level is desirable, instead of complete silence, for comfort. 9. Slow noise level effects manifest, as i) Circulatory defects ii) Digestive, metabolic, neurological, cardiac and psychological defects.

6. Noise and Noise Control

Measures to control noise effects 1. Use of barriers of better STC 2. Isolation by floating floors 3. Prevention of flanking and leaks 4. Sound proof doors and windows 5. Construction, keeping separation between sensitive and noisy area

7. How can we reduce noise pollution

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Ear Protection Modifying noisy activities and devices Shielding noisy devices or processes Shielding workers or other persons from the noise Moving noisy operations or machinery away from people Using anti-noise (a technology that cancels out one noise with another). Use of noise barriers Limitation of vehicle speeds, Limitation of heavy duty vehicles. Use of traffic controls that smooth vehicle flow to reduce braking and acceleration Aircraft noise can be reduced to some extent by design of quieter jet engines, Redesign of industrial equipment, shock mounting assemblies and physical barriers in the workplace. 13. Research now shows that plants can also help to reduce background noise levels inside buildings by up to 5 decibels 14. Interior plants can absorb, diffract or reflect background noise in buildings, thereby making the environment more comfortable for the occupants [especially plants with lots of small leaves] 15. Law enforcements.

8. Learning to protect yourself from Noise Pollution 1. Always wear hearing protection when working around loud noises 2. Take breaks when working in noisy areas 3. Limit exposure to loud music 4. Have regular hearing tests for any loss of hearing 5. keep indoor plants

9. Noise Criteria (N-C Curves) 1. Perfect silence can not be tolerated. 2. It proves to be highly disturbing.Some back-ground sound in the form of Acoustical perfume is not only acceptable but also desirable. 3. It is privacy rather than silence that we usually want. 4. External speech-sound do not particularly disturb us until they become distinct enough to carry information. 5. On the basis of extensive research in human responses and performances a set of contours, similar to that of equal to loudness contours, have been developed. 6. These contours are termed as Noise Criteria Curves. 7. These specify the maximum level, in the frequency band, which will be acceptable.

9. Noise Criteria (N-C Curves) 8. The acoustical environment for activity spaces can be broadly specified as Quiet area : testing audiometry, recording studio, Bedroom, Studyroom etc. having NC range 15-20 dB. Hearing : Drama Cinema, Lecture-room, Assembly Hall, Court-room, Conference- room, Residences, Hospitals etc. hving NC range 20-30 dB. Normal Activity Area: offices, class room, Library etc. having NC range 30-35 dB. Moderate Activity Area: Laboratory, corridor, shops, etc NC range 3545dB. Noisy area: Hotels, Kitchen, Bank, garrage etc. NC range 45-50 dB. Very Noisy Area: Air Port, Railway, Factory, Parking, Market etc. NC range 55-75dB.

9. Noise Criteria (N-C Curves) 9. Human ear can tolerate high intensity sounds of low frequencies and low intensity sound of high frequencies. This tolerance is expressed by background NC curves. This tolerance is depends upon both sound pressure and frequencies and is derived from experience with spaces intended for different functions. 10. NC curves specify acceptable sound levels at different frequencies and are based upon the sensitivity of the human ear. Analysis of the noise is plotted on the top of the standard curves.

9. Noise Criteria (N-C Curves)

1. 2. 3. 4.

Noise level in the source room Background noise level in the source room Background noise level in the receiving room Transmitted noise level from the source room to the receiving room

10. Floor ceiling construction for impact isolation flanking cases.

and other

1. Unwanted sound can pass on through air routes and seriously through inter connecting solid structures. 2. Floor should be treated with resilient materials or properly carpeted and in stead of flat ceiling to get sound dispersion and diffusion. 3. If possible provide false ceiling so that the air column between false ceiling and the real, rigid ceiling will provide cushion for sound absorption.

Enclosure with resilient mount

resilient mount with double enclosure and lining

11. Impact and Structure Born Sound 1. Impact sound includes foot steps, slammed doors and windows, noisy pipes, vibrating machines etc. This sound results into structure born sound also. 2. It is necessary to distinguish between air born and impact sound. A single noisy source will generate both types. Foot steps on a floor would be heard mainly as impact sound in the room below but it will be heard as air born in the room above. 3. Impact sound also results into flanking Transmission. These indirect sound paths can be numerous and complex. 4. For Impact noise Use carpeting and resilient tiles to cushion the impact. 5. These are effective at the middle and high frequencies but low frequencies can still pass through. 6. Impact noise rating (INR) for flat concrete slab is -17. for concrete slab with floating floor it is +1 and for concrete slab on steel bar joists, carpet on foam pad etc, it is +26.

11. Impact and Structure Born Sound 11.1 Choice of Materials 1. For ceiling the materials should not only be absorbent but that which cuts down sound transmission. 2. For walls and ceiling, perforated mufflers which, allow air movement but reduce sound transmission. 3. For partitions, use heavy weight materials but of low stiffness. Avoid materials being both; stiff and light. 11.2 Defence against noise 1. 2. 3. 4. Proper orientation and planning More critical functional rooms be away from noise source. Noise reduction at source. Acoustic plaster are cheaper for noise control in school and offices.

12. Floating floors 1. The insulation of a floor must be maintained at all junctions with the surrounding walls in order to prevent flanking transmission and impacts. 2. The separation of the two parts of a floating floor must continue around all the edges by the use of resilient materials and air tight plugging, if STC rating needed is above 65 dB, floating floor is must.
1. 2. 3. 4. Floated concrete floor Glass fiber board around perimeter to prevent flanking at perimeter. 12.5 mm. exterior plywood panels Resilient layer of pre-compressed glass fiber to have initial deflection of about 15% to allow floated slab to move while structural slab remains stationary. Layer of polyethylene on top of ply wood panels and over inside face of perimeter insulation board to protect it from moisture. Concrete structural slab Mastic caulking around perimeter.


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13. Problems in Multi-storeyed and Multifunctional Buildings

1. Urbanization has forced us to construct such buildings. Such buildings have serious acoustical problems; such as impact noise, transmitted sounds, lift transport in addition to external noise. 2. We have to note that we can only try to minimize the noise level to acceptable limits, In residential flats, we should try to keep less critical functional spaces; such as kitchen, drawing room, passages etc. along the lift/ stair-case. 3. Then toilet- bathrooms and at the end our study-room and bedroom. Thus some isolation of critical area from the noisy area and adjoining flat can be achieved. Sound flaking, sound transmission by pipe-line connections etc. can be reduced by proper caulking, using mufflers and absorbents. Main entry-door to the flat should be heavy and sound leak proof. 4. The partition wall materials for inner room should be of proper STC value. In the study/ bed room, the best method would be have back ground noise as suggested by noise criteria. This, called Acoustic Perfumes, will help to give privacy even in noisy area. 5. For a highly confidential and delicate working condition, the space must have a floating floor, in addition to other noise-reduction-methods.

14. Outdoor barrier for sound control

1. Less critical spaces should face the road side as these spaces act as barrier for outdoor noise. 2. If possible, dense planting should surround the structure. A single row of trees does not provide sound insulation because of inter reflections between the trees. Hence multiple layer closely spaced rows, 50m wide can provide noise reduction up to 6 dB. 3. Compound wall can also act as a barrier for external noise. When the sound source is near the barrier wall, height of the wall should be greater. 4. If the distance between the wall and sound is 1m and height of the barrier wall will be 1.2m. i.e. H > L Here H = Height of compound wall L = Length of the source to compound wall

Sound transmission through wall and partition

Sound Insulation/ Reduction/ Insulation

1. Mass Law Greater the mass of partition wall, lesser will be the sound transmission from the source room to the receiving room. Hence denser materials for partition wall is more effective. However care has to be taken about cracks, openings, ducts, electrical cables etc. as these are likely to transmit sound energy. The surface area of the partition wall is subjected to alternating variation in sound pressure. Thus force acts on it, F= Mass x Acceleration Hence Acceleration is inversely proportional to Mass. It is also inversely proportional to Frequency.

1. Mass Law The Sound Reduction Index (SRI) increase by 6 dB with each doubling of Mass or Frequency. SRI in dB = LP1 LP2 10log A/S
Here LP1 LP2 A S = Sound pressure level in source room = Sound pressure level in Receiving room = Absorption in the receiving room = Surface area of the partition wall

T = Et / Ei
Here T Et Ei = Sound Transmission coefficient = Transmitted Energy = Incident Energy

Hence T=0 means sound leak surface and T=1 means sound transparent surface

1. Mass Law
1/T = Ei/Et = (Et/E0) x (E0/Et) 10Log(1/T) =10log(Et/E0) - log(Et/E0) Thus, 10Log(1/T) = Incident power level - Transmitted Power Level = SRI in dB. NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) It is the average of a Materials sound absorption coefficients at 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz i.e. NRC= (250 + 500 + 1000 + 2000) / 4 It is the single number index of sound absorbing efficiency of a material. NR (Noise reduction) From source room to receiving room I.e. NR = Difference in intensity level = I1 I2 in dB. Also NR = TL + 10log(a2/S) Here TL= Transmission loss in partition-wall, A2= Absorption in receiving room. S = Area of partition wall (It acts sound source in receiving room)

1. Mass Law
PARTITIONS WALL TL due to thickness = 20log10(f.M) + K in dB. Where f = frequency of sound in Hz M = Mass per unit surface area of the partition wall in Kg/m2 : K = A constant. It is 47 when M is in Kg/m2 DOUBLE WALL PARTITION WALL (With a cavity of width d) TL = 20log10 (d.M) + K Here d in meter M in Kg/m2 and K = 34 This is valid in the range 100-3200 Hz.

Partha Sarathi Mishra Asst. Professor School of Architecture GITAM University