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Acoustics 101

  Acoustics by means of Perforations, slots and grooves

Wood as an Acoustic ProductFlat wood and wood veneer products typically produce NRC values under .10. Based on a theoretical maximum of 1.0 this translates into more than 90% of the acoustical energy being reflected. In some cases this is acceptable. When utilizing wood in the role of a diffuser, reflective surfaces are necessary.

WoodTrends panels are offered as non-perforated when reflection is the goal. Far more often are the instances where the rich beauty and warmth of wood is desired in a design without the accompanying echo and reverberation. The answer to this is perforation. Allowing an appropriate amount of open space on the face of the panels allows absorptive material to be exposed to the noise. In the case of large bore perforations in relatively thick base materials, diffusion also increases as the angle of incidence increases. This element of diffusion is especially beneficial in performance spaces where too much absorption can create an acoustically "dead" room.

Achieving transparency

The goal when putting a rigid, reflective material in front of an acoustically absorptive material is to achieve acoustic transparency. Fortunately, acoustic transparency is very different from visual transparency. Some perforation patterns actually improve the acoustic performance of the material behind it. Certain perforation patterns, when combined with specific thickness materials and air spaces can be "tuned" to achieve maximum absorption at specified frequencies.

Acoustic materials underneath

Traditional acoustic material used behind perforated structural materials has typically been mineral wood, spun glass blanket or rigid fiberglass board of varying densities. All exhibiting good acoustic properties, the choice tends to be driven by price, installation and environmental conditions. In most case, the thicker the absorber, the better the performance at the lower frequencies and a better overall performance. In the typical architectural applications, mid-range or speech pattern frequencies are the main concern. For this reason, one inch of any of the above materials is typically sufficient when finishing an existing wall or ceiling. For those instances where materials will be suspended from typical ceiling grid or where panels will be mounted well off any reflective substrates, there is another material to consider.


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