Noise barriers for industrial noise control block unwanted sounds instead of absorbing or damping them. A form of acoustic insulation, noise blockers are made  of dense materials and used at the source of a sound and along its path. By understanding how sound barriers work, how they’re made, and the different types that are available, you can choose the right solution for your application.

How Noise Barriers Work

Noise barriers prevent sound waves from passing-through ceilings, walls, floors, and other structures. They’re usually made of vinyl, a dense but flexible material that provides strength, durability, and resistance to humidity and moisture. Some sound barriers are made of mass loaded vinyl (MLV), a sheet material that contains salt, sand, or tiny metal particles for added mass.

Vinyl and MLV can be laminated to foams and facings that provide sound absorption, vibration control, and industrial noise control properties. Melamine, a type of acoustical foam, is often used because it’s flexible but semi-rigid. Melamine foams are also flame-resistant and lightweight. Facing materials can provide frequency attenuation, chemical or abrasion resistance, support for cleaning, and decoration.

How Noise Blockers are Made

Noise blocking materials are supplied as sheets or rolls in different lengths, widths, and thicknesses. By using water jet cutting, a custom fabricator can cut stock materials to size without tooling charges. Water jet cutting is also faster and more accurate than manual cutting. First, however, the material supplier or rubber fabricator may need to laminate different acoustical materials together.

Some noise barriers are bonded to foams and facings in a sandwich-like structure. These industrial noise control products are applied to metal, plastic, wood, and other surfaces in buildings, equipment, vehicles, and machinery. For peel-and-stick installation, a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) with a removable liner or backing can be used. This PSA may provide temporary or permanent fastening. 

Types of Noise Barriers

Many types of noise barriers are available, but not all acoustic insulation is suitable for every application. For example, a sound blocker that’s right for a factory office may not be able to withstand the splash of automotive fluids in an engine compartment, or the petroleum products that are used with industrial machinery. Sound blockers also have different sound transmission class (STC) ratings.

Noise barriers for buildings are installed between walls or underneath flooring or carpeting. Often, the barrier material is sandwiched between a decoupler and a layer of acoustic foam. Decoupling, the mechanical separation of two sides of a structure, causes the sound blocker and the acoustic foam to vibrate independently from each other. In other words, the decoupler isolates the sound.

Depending on the materials used, sound barriers can meet Class A requirements for building and construction or UL 94 standards for flame resistance.  In HVAC systems, flexible vinyl sheets that are bonded to aluminized reinforced plastic film are used as pipe wrap or duct wrap. Noise blockers are also used in machine housings, engine compartments, and equipment enclosures.

Noise barriers are installed in mobile equipment and military vehicles, too. Acoustic insulation for buses and railcars needs to meet specific flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) standards. Noise blockers in military land systems also promote occupant safety. When acoustic insulation is used as vehicle flooring, a non-slip surface and wear resistance are required.      

Custom Noise Barriers from Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates noise barriers in low-to-medium volume quantities for industrial noise control products like custom acoustic insulation. We use water jet cutting to make fine, fast cuts without tooling and offer lamination services that can create the ideal acoustical material for your application. To learn more about our value-added manufacturing capabilities, contact us.

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