Sound BarriersElasto Proxy explains what engineers need to consider when choosing sound barriers.  This article is the third in a multi-part series about acoustic insulation.

Sound barriers are soundproofing materials that reflect little or no noise. They usually contain dense but flexible mats and one or more layers of acoustical foams such as melamine. Various facing materials are also used for attenuation, protection, and decoration. Sound barriers are designed to achieve maximum attenuation over a broad frequency range, but they can impart other important properties. For example, some sound barriers offer resistance to fire and fluids. Other emit low levels of smoke while burning.

For engineers, architects, and building or plant managers, choosing the right acoustic insulation begins with a complete analysis of application requirements. Many types of sound barriers are available, but not all of these acoustical materials are appropriate for your specific application. For example, a sound barrier that’s suitable for an 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.

How to Choose Sound Barriers

Sound barriers include flexible vinyl sheets, a basic sound blocker. Equipment enclosures and machine housings are common industrial applications. When combined with aluminized reinforced plastic film, flexible vinyl sheets can be used as pipe wrap or duct wrap in HVAC systems. Depending on the type of barrier material, sound barriers can meet UL standards for flame resistance or Class A requirements for building and construction.

Vinyl sheets and other barrier materials can also be bonded to acoustical foams and facings. The foam absorbs the airborne noise, the barrier contains the sound, and the facing provides durability. Infrastructure applications include acoustic insulation under flooring or carpeting. In some cases, the barrier material is “sandwiched” between a layer of acoustic foam and a decoupler. When the acoustic insulation is applied to a wall or floor, the decoupling layer isolates the barrier.

Acoustic insulation “sandwiches” are often applied to sheet metal, wood, plastic, and other types of surfaces found in buildings. The mobile equipment industry also needs acoustic insulation, especially sound barriers that meet requirements for flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST). For example, rail industry products usually need to meet standards such as ASTM E 162-90 and ASTM E 662-93. The aerospace industry has its own standards.

Sound barriers in military vehicles and off-road equipment also need to promote occupant safety. When acoustic insulation is used in vehicle flooring, wear resistance and a non-slip surface can be critical. Vinyl is a good choice for a wear-resistant surface that resists scuffing and retains its color even under heavy use. Black vinyl is common, but other vinyl in other colors is available, too. For the bottom pad in this type of insulation sandwich, a water-resistant acoustic foam can be used.

Choose Sound Barriers from Elasto Proxy

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates sound barriers into acoustic insulation for infrastructure, mobile equipment, and many other applications. Here are our headquarters in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, we also build custom insulation sandwiches that include sound barriers and other types of acoustical materials, such as sound absorbers and facings. We can even create thermal-acoustic insulation for noise control and resistance to high temperatures or fire.

As November draws to a close, Elasto Proxy’s annual shutdown is fast-approaching. Our offices will close at the end of the business day on Friday, December 23, 2017 and reopen on the morning of Monday, January 9, 2017. If you would you like to place an order with a December delivery date, please do so before Friday, December 2, 2016. Also, please note that our December schedule only allows us to fill new orders from in-stock materials. Please contact Elasto Proxy for more information.

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