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Standards used for sound absorption

For determining sound absorbing properties, two standards are used:

ISO 354 – Set of basic methods where the absorption is measured in a reverberation room. In
the standard are described methods for measuring absorbing properties.

ISO 11654 – Standard that gives information on simplifying the absorption coefficients. It shows
how to transform coefficients obtained by ISO 354 to “practical absorption coefficient” αp and
further to a “weighted absorption coefficient” αw. The single value index αw is calculated through
comparison of the practical absorption coefficients with a reference curve. Based on the αw
value, the absorbers can be classified into classes from A to E were A corresponds to products
with an αw larger or equal to 0.90.

The outcomes of the standards are:

ISO 354:2003 Acoustics – Measurements of sound absorption in a reverberation room

• Plane absorbers
• Discrete sound absorbers
• Baffles

ISO 11654:1997 Acoustics – Sound absorbers for use in buildings – Rating of sound absorption
• Practical absorption coefficient αp
• Weighted sound absorption coefficient αw
• Sound absorption classes A to E

Room method for measuring sound absorption

The basis for measuring sound absorption is Sabine’s formula:


- T is reverberation time [s]

- V is the room volume [m3]
- A is equivalent absorption area [m2 Sabin]

Reverberation time is the time needed for the sound pressure to decrease 60 dB after the sound
source has been turned off. It is usually measured and evaluated for different frequencies. It is
often given for the octave bands 125 to 4000 Hz.

Equivalent absorption area, for plane absorber, is calculated as the absorption coefficient
multiplied with area of the plane absorber: A = α · S (where α is the absorption coefficient and S
is the area of plane). So, in accordance with above mentioned formula, equivalent absorption
area could be defined as:
Or from the second formula as:
= ·
So, following this:
· =