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of sound through the construction elements, the absorption of sound within a space, and the separation of noise sources from quiet spaces. Solid wood and some wood-based composites can be considered as acoustic materials because of their ability to absorb an important amount of incident sound in order to reduce the sound pressure level or the reverberation time in a room. Wood materials are applied to walls and ceiling surfaces or to floor platforms and are occasionally suspended in the room volume, depending on the performance requirements of the room space, for speech and music listening, in offices, industrial buildings, homes, etc. Cremer and Muller (1982 ) demonstrated that “it is possible to accomplish some predetermined acoustical design objectives by selecting the enclosure surfaces to absorb, reflect or tran smit the incident wave. How well this objective is accomplished will depend upon the designer’s knowledge and skill in the selection and use of materials.” Similar statements have been advanced by all acousticians involved in architectural acoustics (Beranek 1960, 1962; Egan 1988). Sound absorption and sound reflection efficiency over the audible spectrum are strongly related to the internal structure of the material, surface treatmen t, type of mounting, geometry, etc. For example, plywood and particleboard provide sound absorption in the lower-frequency region of the audible spectrum (<500 Hz) and porous artificial materials are remarkably efficient absorbents at mid and high frequencies (2,000−4,000 Hz), as cited by Beranek (1960). Influence of the anatomic structure of wood on sound absorption The acoustic efficiency of walls constructed with wood depends on the method of installation and on the basic properties of the material. A deeper understanding of the very complex phenomena related to the sound insulation of walls needs to consider the sound absorption of different wood species. (The coefficient of sound absorption is considered as 1 or 100% for an open window.) The values of sound absorption coefficients are affected by the experimental configuration (thickness of the specimen, the rear space from the specimen to the rigid wall of the Kundt tube, species, etc.) and by the frequency range. Standing waves were used to determine the absorption coefficients and acoustic impedance of different species: Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), Saghalin fir (Abies sachalinensis), maple (Acer spp.), and willow (Salix spp.). Wood Materials as acoustical insulators Wood was and still is a basic building material. A wide range of structural appl ications of wooden members in foundations, light frame construction, beams and columns, bridges, etc. are cited by Freas (1989). Increased attention has be en given to the utilization of solid wood and wood-based composites as acoustical insulators in floors, ceilings, and walls. Three main methods of sound transmission are possible: the sound is transmitted through (1) the adjacent wall, (2) the ceiling, and (3) the floor. We consider the relationships between the incident acoustic energy (Ee), the absorbed energy by the wall (Ea), the ref lected energy (Er), and the transmitted energy (Ed). If the acoustic insulation is good enough, the transmitted energy through the wall is very small. The acoustic capacity of a wall between two rooms is expressed by two factors:
the noise reduction factor and the transmission loss factor. The noise reduction factor is a ratio of pressures, namely the difference in sound pressure level on the two sides of the wall and the incident sound pressur e, and can be calculated as: A = Ee – Er × 100 [%] Ee
The noise reduction coefficient is defined as the average of the sound absorptio n coefficients at 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 Hz. As an example, some data a re given in Table 3.1. The highest sound absorption coefficient for all frequencies was observed for the floor with wool carpet and the smallest coefficients were measured on brick wall. The transmission loss factor (R) is defined (Braune 1960) as the log of the rati o of the acoustic incident energy to the acoustic energy transmitted through the wall, following the expression: (3.2) As noted by Egan (1988), the “transmission loss is a measure of how much sound energy is reduced in transmission through materials. The more massive a material , the higher its transmission loss. However, due to coincidence effects, the transmission loss at some frequencies will be far less than would be predicted b y only considering the mass of material.” It is generally admitted in architectural acoustics that heavier materials provide better sound isolation and, as an examp le, by doubling the surface weight, the sound loss increases by a factor of about 5. In addition to the weight, other factors affect wall vibration, for example s ome natural frequencies produced by bending waves and related to the stiffness of th e construction. Sound-absorbing materials control echoes and reverberation. As an example of transmission loss, we cite the measurements on a wood panel 2 cm thick and on a panel of glass fibers of the same thickness (Braune 1960). I n the first case, the transmission loss is 22 dB and the acoustical absorption is 3%, whereas in the second case the corresponding parameters are 3 dB and 65%. This behavior of two different walls of the same thickness is roughly determined by the mass density of the constitutive materials. The transmission loss of air-borne sound through a single panel of wood-based material versus frequency is shown in Fig. 3.3, in which three types of material s are analyzed: plywood, particleboard, and hardboard. The measured values of the transmission loss factor are compared with the values deduced from the law of mass incidence. Reduction of 20−30% at low to mid-frequency was observed, probably produced by the mechanical impedance of the wall and by the energy dissipation properties of the constitutive materials. R = 10Log Ee [dB] Ed Acoustics of concert halls A newly built room has several requirements: − The exact definition of the practical purpose of the room (concerts, drama and opera, pop, jazz, rock concerts, sports events, etc.), which must be related to
the values of sound field parameters such as the reverberation time, the local or directional distribution of sound, and the limitation and peculiarities of subjective listening abilities. − The architectural plan or design of the hall − the shape and the dimensions of the hall, the position of the sound sources, the stage enclosure, the arrangemen t of audience and seats, the walls, the ceiling, the floor. The positions of these last elements are essential in keeping the frequency spectrum of the refle cted sound similar to that of the direct sound. − The materials used for the construction. Wooden-plated panels in front of an air cushion are used for the absorption of low frequencies. Wooden plates act as resonators, whereas the basic resonance frequency is related to the mass per square unit and to the stiffness of the air cushion behind. Wooden linings lead to a bright sound because of low-frequency absorption. Other systems such as Helmholtz resonators and thin gypsum plates can be used for this purpose , with more or less success. The absorption of high frequencies in normal auditoria is caused by the audience (the effects of clothing fabrics, etc.) and the volume of the air. It is interesting to note Beranek’s (1988) statement: «the absorbing power of a seated audience, orchestra and chorus in a large hall for music increases in proportion to the floor area occupied, nearly independent of the number of seated persons in those areas.» The acoustic quality of halls is strongly dependent on the initial-time-delay gap (<20 ms) and is defined as «the difference in the time of arrival at a listener’s ear of the first of the re flected waves and the direct sound wave.» Several physical parameters can help in the judgement of concert hall acoustics, such as: − whether there is a good connection between the orchestra, the musicians, and the listeners; − whether there is sufficient reverberation time to give tonal quality to the musi c; − whether there is a reasonable balance between strings, woodwinds, and percussion in the orchestra; − whether there is sufficiently loud sound, without distortion, echoes, or undesir able noise; − whether musicians are able to hear themselves and the other players. loudspeaker system, giving pulses of 1 ms duration (Muller 1986). ISO 3382-1975(E) “Measurement of reverberation time in auditoria” allows the comparison of acoustical quality of different halls expressed by the reverberati on time. As defined by Morfey (2001), the reverberation time in rooms is the “time taken for the energy in an initially-steady reverberant sound field to decay by 60 dB.” The preferred range of reverberation time is from 0.6−0.8 s for elementary classrooms and from 1.5−2.3 s for symphonic music.
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