At Technicon Acoustics, we are the premier provider of acoustic and thermal solutions for North American original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). We specialize in the design, development, manufacture, and delivery of materials and products that absorb, block, and isolate sound and heat. One of our core product offerings is acoustic absorbers.
What Are Acoustic Absorbers?
Acoustic absorbers are made from open-cell foam or porous fiber-based materials that prevent sound waves from reflecting off hard surfaces. They are used to line rigid surfaces—such as heavy equipment enclosures or operator cabs—to improve the acoustic conditions within the space rather than preventing noise from traveling into or out of it.
By integrating acoustic absorbers into their equipment, OEMs can significantly reduce the amount of reverberation experienced by end-users. As a result, operations are much quieter, and equipment operators are better protected against auditory injury.
For a more detailed explanation of sound absorption, check out our blog post, A Closer Look at Sound Damping vs. Absorption.
How Do Acoustic Absorbers Work?
Sound waves are essentially vibrations. As the vibrations move through a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium, they cause the individual particles to vibrate. This motion passes from one particle to the next, allowing the sound wave to pass through the medium. When a sound wave reaches a sound-reflective surface, it bounces back into the space. As a result, the overall noise levels within the space increase as more and more sound waves are created and introduced.
As indicated above, acoustic absorbers prevent sound waves from reflecting off hard surfaces, which reduces the amount of airborne noise within a space. Their open-cell or porous structure allows them to take in and trap—rather than reflect—sound waves, converting the sound energy into thermal energy.
Types of Acoustic Absorbers
Acoustic absorbers are manufactured from foam or fiber, both of which offer the unique structure needed to dissipate sound waves. These materials come in several variations to suit different functional and aesthetic preferences. At Technicon Acoustics, we offer the following types of acoustic absorbers:
Foam-Based Acoustic Absorbers
Our acoustic foams—also sometimes referred to as sound-absorbing or soundproof foams—are available in various thicknesses and facing options to allow customers to tailor their acoustic absorber solution to their exact needs. They come in two variations:
- Polyether foam. Polyether foam is made from open-cell polyurethane. In addition to its excellent sound absorption properties, it is lightweight, flexible, compressible, and thermally insulating.
- Polyester foam. Compared to polyether foam, polyester foam offers greater tensile strength.
Fiber-Based Acoustic Absorbers
Fiber-based acoustic absorbers are often used as an alternative to foam-based acoustic absorbers in applications involving low frequencies. Our fiber-based acoustic absorbers are made from a proprietary blend of virgin polyester fibers. They offer excellent low–frequency absorption properties, thermal resistance up to 350° F, and compliance with UL94 HF1 standards.
Industrial Uses of Acoustic Absorbers
OEMs apply acoustic absorbers within a wide range of equipment including engine enclosures, operator cabs, heavy equipment, medical devices, and more. By reducing operational noise levels, these materials enhance customer perception, improve operator alertness and awareness, and increase general productivity within the workplace.
Some examples of the equipment in which they are often used include:
- Power generators and air compressors. Acoustic absorbers are used to line the sound-reflective surfaces inside the engine or motor enclosures of power generators and air compressors. They absorb the sound waves created, minimizing the amount of noise that escapes from the enclosed area.
- Construction equipment. Construction equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and other earthmovers have engines that generate a significant amount of noise. For this reason, the operator cabs of construction equipment often feature acoustic absorbers to minimize the level of reverberation experienced within the space.
- Specialty vehicles. As indicated above, engines produce noise. Acoustic absorbers can be used to line the engine compartment to absorb sound before it escapes the enclosure and/or the passenger compartment to absorb sound while it travels within the space.
- Mass transit equipment and vehicles. Similar to personal transportation vehicles, public transportation vehicles (e.g., buses, trains) have loud engines. The high noise levels can cause uncomfortable conditions for passengers and operators. Integrating acoustic insulation into the roof and wall designs of mass transit equipment and vehicles helps reduce, block, and absorb unwanted noise.
- Medical Equipment. Loud sound from medical equipment can largely be mitigated by installing acoustic absorber material, this includes devices such as nebulizers, oxygen concentrators and generators, lab equipment, and imaging and ultrasonic equipment. We have developed a selection of composite materials with the capabilities to absorb any unwanted sound in each of these applications.
The above list is not all-inclusive. Acoustic absorbers find application in many other pieces of industrial, commercial, and consumer equipment, including, but not limited to, compression housings, cowlings, and pumps.
Contact the Noise Reduction Experts at Technicon Acoustics Today
Acoustic absorbers play a critical role in a variety of industrial, commercial, and consumer equipment—i.e., reducing the noise levels experienced in and around equipment. If you need acoustic absorbers for your equipment, turn to the experts at Technicon Acoustics.
At Technicon Acoustics, we offer foam- and fiber-based acoustic absorbers that can be customized to suit nearly any sound absorption application. To learn more about our product offerings, contact us today. For pricing details, request a quote.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are absorbers cost effective?
- Yes, absorbers are a very cost-effective solution to many airborne noise problems. They are typically used to line the inside of any hard-sound reflective enclosure and they break up the sound field and reduce the noise problem.
What are some common applications?
- Generators, compression housings, engine compartments, cowlings, pumps, and device enclosures. Absorbers can work inside operator compartments or cabs for they can reduce the noise levels, improve speech intelligibility and reduce hardness, therefore, increase general productivity and increasing alertness.
What is Absorption?
- It’s eliminating the reflection of sound waves within an environment. Reflected noise makes an environment louder. Typical absorbers are manufactured from various foams or fiber materials.
What is an Absorber?
- An Absorber is any material that has an open cell structure or porous fiber structure that can be used to line hard enclosures or other rigid surfaces in order to reduce reflected sound energy.
How does an Absorber work?
- In order to understand how an Acoustic Absorber works we must first understand what sound is. The sound is nothing more; or less than a pressure wave moving through a medium ( typically air in this case). Absorbers work by dissipating the pressure wave. The absorber takes in the sound energy and converts it into heat within the cell or fiber structure; don’t worry the overall created is tiny – you won’t be heating your house with it.
How do we measure sound?
- Sound typically measure in decibels.
What are the common sound decibels?
- Threshold of hearing – 10 DB
- Soft Whisper – 35 DB
- Large Transformer at 200′ – 55 DB
- Speech at 1′ – 70 DB
- Pneumatic Drill at 50′- 85 DB
- Subway Train at 20′ 95 DB
- Pneumatic Hammer at Operator – 105 DB
- Jet at Takeoff at 200′- 120 DB
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