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Most of the common building materials absorb sound to a small extent and hence, for better acoustical requirement, some other materials are to be incorporated on the surface of the room. Such materials are known as sound absorbent materials and they help a great deal in making the room acoustically good. These materials are used for:
1. Damping sound in ventilation installations;
2. Developing special acoustic effects in TV, radio and film shooting studios, etc;
3. Facing interiors of premises that require a low noise level such as offices, restaurants, commercial centers, banks, etc.
4. Providing adequate acoustic in theatre halls, auditoriums, etc.
Various types of absorbent materials are available in the market under different trade names. The value of coefficient of absorption is supplied by the manufacturer. Following are some of the common types of absorbent materials:
1. Hair felt: This material was used by Prof. Sabin in his experimental works. The average value of coefficient of absorption of 25 mm thick hair felt is 0.60.
2. Acoustic Plaster: This is also known as fibrous plaster and it includes granulated insulation material mixed with cement. If quantity of cement is more than required, the plaster will not have sufficient pores to become effective for acoustics. If quantity of cement is less, the plaster will not have enough strength. Thus the quantity of cement should be carefully decided. For thickness of 20 mm and density of 0.10 g / cubic centimeter, the acoustic plaster possesses an absorbent coefficient of 0.3 at 500 cycles per second. Acoustic plasterboards are also available. They can be fixed on the wall and their coefficients of absorption vary from 0.15 to 0.30.
3. Acoustical Tiles: These are made in factory and sold under different trade names. The absorption of sound is uniform from tile to tile and they can be fixed easily. However, acoustical tiles are relatively costly than other absorbent materials. They are most suitable for rooms in which small area is available for acoustical treatment.
4. Strawboard: This material can also be used as absorbent material. With a thickness of 13mm and density of 0.24 g/ cubic centimeters, it possesses a coefficient of absorption of 0.30 at 500 cycles per second.
5. Pulp Boards: These are soft which are prepared from compressed pulp. They are cheaper and can be fixed by ordinary paneling. The average value of coefficient of absorption is 0.17.
6. Compressed fiberboard: This material may be perforated or imperforated. The average coefficient of absorption for the former is 0.30 and for the latter is 0.52. It has density of 0.30 g/ cubic centimeters.
7. Compressed wood particleboard: This material is provided with perforations and it can be painted also. With a thickness of about 13mm, the average coefficient of absorption is 0.40.
8. Perforated Plywood: This material can be used by forming composite panels with mineral wool and cement asbestos or with mineral wool and hardboard. It is generally suspended from trusses. The average value of coefficient of absorption for the former composite panel is as high as 0.95 and for latter composite panel, it is about 0.20.
9. Wood wool board: This material is generally used with a thickness of 25mm and it has a density of 0.40 g / cubic centimeter. The average value for coefficient of absorption is 0.20.
10. Quilts and Mats: These are prepared from mineral wool or glass wool and are fixed in the form of acoustic blankets.