When choosing the right thermal insulation or acoustic material for a particular application, there are many factors to consider, such as the NRC rating, SAA rating, and damping coefficient. Although these measurements give important information, it’s also important to consider aspects such as temperature and humidity when selecting materials and gauging their performance.

At Technicon Acoustics, we evaluate these factors when testing for NRC and SAA ratings. This makes our rating systems different from those of other companies. When seeking materials for your specific application, it should come with the highest ratings regarding average operating conditions. Here we’ll review what this means in terms of NRC rating, damping coefficient, and SAA rating.

Understanding NRC Ratings (Noise Reduction Coefficient)

One of the measurements you can use in acoustic and thermal insulation material selection is the NRC rating. NRC, or noise reduction coefficient, is the standard rating that indicates a material’s sound absorption capabilities. NRC ratings can go from 0 to 1, where 0 indicates a complete inability to absorb sound, while a rating of 1 shows that the material is capable of absorbing all sound. Ultimately, the higher the NRC rating, the more sound a particular material can absorb.

Hemi anechoic acoustical test chamber

However, the NRC rating isn’t always the most conclusive way to rate a material’s effectiveness. In the real world, we typically encounter “problem frequencies” or frequency bins that are the largest contributors to the unit’s overall noise profile. This is also referred to as lack of sound quality or tonality. In order to best address noise issues, the effective absorption profile of the material at specific frequencies needs to match that of the problem frequencies of the unit. 

At Technicon Acoustics, we have expertise in tailoring acoustical solutions to specific real world noise problems. Our team can walk you through how and why each of our materials would work for your application. All Technicon Acoustic materials are rated based on average operating conditions, taking into consideration a variety of situations and frequencies.

Using the Damping Coefficient for Material Selection

Another way to measure the effectiveness of certain materials is the damping coefficient. This is the multiple resonance average for metal of a specific thickness and size. Put simply, the damping coefficient is a good indicator of a material’s ability to return energy to a system. If a material has a high damping coefficient, it’s often used for applications in need of noise reduction, thermal insulation, shock absorption, and vibration control.

However, like NRC ratings, damping coefficients aren’t always the best way to choose a material for a specific application, as material performance is often dependent on temperature. The professionals at Technicon Acoustics can measure material performance by determining the damping coefficient based on your average operating conditions. From there, we can help you choose the right material for your application.

SAA Rating: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

The SAA, or sound absorption average, indicates the absorption coefficient average for the twelve one-third octave bands ranging between 200 and 2,500 Hz. Materials with a high SAA rating absorb sound more effectively. For applications with certain sound absorption requirements, a material’s SAA can help determine which material is most likely to meet them.

If the environment of a certain application often changes, it can be difficult to choose the right material based on its SAA value. In these instances, the team at Technicon Acoustics can help you select the most appropriate material for your application based on its SAA rating.

Technicon Acoustics Can Help You Choose the Right Material

There are many elements that can influence your decision when searching for the right thermal insulation or sound-absorbing material, which is why Technicon Acoustics is here to help you find what you need. With so many aspects to consider beyond the NRC rating, SAA rating, and damping coefficient, material selection can be challenging. Whether you’re seeking advice for our products or need assistance with finding the best materials, we can help you choose the ideal solution to meet your specific requirements. 

To learn more about our products and capabilities, contact the experts at Technicon Acoustics today.