Controlling your Environment with Sound Absorbing Foam

The correct use of sound can be a big asset to any organisation, whereas a failure to control it properly can be a serious disadvantage. However, to control that noise, you need to understand its characteristics and how it reacts in different situations. Read More

The ways that sound acts and reacts will depend on its type, the size of area where it is produced and the type of surfaces that surround the space. You can manipulate some of those factors to make sound behave in a way that’s more advantageous for you.

Understanding Sound and its Movement

Sound is essentially a vibration of energy and, when something vibrates, it causes the air around it to also vibrate. As a result, sound waves travel through the air in various directions and, on reaching a human ear, cause the air inside to vibrate. The brain interprets this as music, speech or noise.

This is relatively straightforward, but the situation is complicated by sound’s interaction with objects, typically with the walls and ceilings in a room. These are generally relatively hard surfaces and will cause the sound to bounce off in a different direction. If the sound is very loud or the room quite small, the sound can bounce back and forth between the walls until it loses energy and is dissipated as heat.

The result is that sound can echo, causing multiple occurrences that are known as reverberation. If you get several sounds at the same time, the effect can be a cacophony of noise that will drown out what you really want to hear. This can cause several problems:

  • a reduction in sound quality, which can be crucial in recording studios and similar locations, as sound reverberation drowns out the direct sound you want to hear
  • difficulties in communication, especially in open plan offices, where employees may need to shout to make themselves heard, which will add to the overall noise levels
  • poor concentration when there’s a lot of background noise.

Using Sound Foam to Overcome the Problem

Sound will react in different ways, depending on the type of surface it meets. Hard surfaces will deflect the sound back into the room, whereas soft surfaces will absorb the sound and prevent or cut down on the echo.

In some cases, you may need a combination of surfaces:

  • hard surfaces that will soundproof a room and prevent sound escaping into other areas
  • soft foam surfaces that are porous and so absorb the sound, converting the energy to heat.

A solid wall comprised of dense materials will prevent sound penetrating. This may include a hard and solid foam that then has a light and absorbent layer added to soften the surface and reduce the echo that is experienced.

Different types of sound absorbing foam may be needed, such as pyramid shapes that deflect and deaden high frequency sounds and thicker foam for low frequency. If it all seems a bit complicated, we can help you make the right choice. Tell us the problem you have and what you want to achieve, and we’ll advise you of the best type of foam for the job.

Read Less