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How Does Acoustic Panels Work?

Loretta loves to research and write informative articles on important topics such as cybersecurity, internet, and other digital solutions.

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If you are familiar with the concept of soundproofing then you will be aware that the word soundproofing is just an umbrella term for many other techniques that make it possible to deal with unnecessary sound and also to improve sound quality in a place.

An Acoustic Panel is one such soundproofing tool that is immensely popular due to its sound damping and sound absorbing qualities.

What is an Acoustic Panel?

It is, in essence, a panel that is built for absorbing or dampening sounds. These panels are made from sound-absorbing materials such as fiberglass, rock wool, or foam and these are attached to plasterboards and covered with fabric to create a sturdy panel that can be easily mounted on walls or other places.

Acoustic panels are great when it comes to reducing noises in residential or commercial areas starting from dealing with a room’s echo to traffic sounds coming from the outside. It can also stop reverberations caused by very loud sounds in closed four-walled spaces.

How Do Acoustic Panels Work? - The Mechanism behind

The main thing that makes acoustic panels so special is the material they are built of. It can be foam, fiberglass, rock wool, or any other foam-like sound-absorbing material. When hit with sound waves, this material traps the vibrations inside and kills their intensity completely or at least partially.

Sound waves travel fast and in straight lines and get reflected from hard surfaces. This is something we have all learned back in middle school. Acoustic panels exploit these very characteristics of sound waves and are thus made of soft foamy material, on which the sound waves will hit but not get reflected back because of it being soft as well as sound absorbing.

So Why Exactly Should One Go For an Acoustic Panel?

As already mentioned, acoustic panels serve well when it comes to sound absorption and dampening, both of which are somewhat similar. But the utility of an acoustic panel goes far beyond that.

Acoustic Panels Improve the Sound Quality of a Room

Have you ever been to a theater and seen the wall covered with long panel-like structures? Yes, you guessed right. Those are acoustic panels.

Inside theaters or places which generate very loud sounds inside a closed space, the vibrations that are created are immense and if it is not controlled, the reverberations caused will be unbearable to the ears. This is where the acoustic panels come in. They deal with all this reverberation noise by absorbing the vibrations and reducing the intensity of the sound.

This necessarily does not have to be true only for grand places like theaters and such and can be applied in homes as well. You can build your own DIY acoustic panels by using some easily available materials and tools. The process is simple and the results are fantastic, especially if you are building a home recording studio!

Reduces Excessive Noise

By continuing the line of discussion from the above-mentioned point, it won’t be an overstatement to claim that Acoustic Panels are great at absorbing excess unwanted noise that is caused by reverberation sound waves.

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What happens is when sound is generated, the larger the sound the more will be the vibrations created and these vibrations travel in different directions in the form of sound waves. When these waves hit hard surfaces like concrete walls or glass windows they get reflected haphazardly making the sound appear to come from all directions.

This happens more in rooms whose size is not proportional to the amount of sound being created. The resultant noise is overwhelming and unbearable. This is why acoustic panels are fitted on the walls to kill reverberations and absorb the vibrations.

Types of Acoustic Panels

Well, the main distinction in the type of Acoustic Panels can be made by dividing the functions into two categories- Sound Damping and Sound Absorption.

Sound Damping acoustic panels remove the dynamic stress that comes with sound vibrations and alter the resonating frequency thus reducing the impact of vibration on the surrounding.

Sound Absorbing Acoustic Panels are somewhat similar in the sense that they reduce the impact of vibrations by absorbing the vibration into their body. Porous materials absorb sound better.

Other than this chief distinction, there are some other types of acoustic panels that have no difference in their function or utility but are rather distinguished by the material and fabric they are built with. Some of them have been listed below:

  • Perforated wooden acoustic wall panels
  • Micro-perforated acoustic wall panels
  • Fiberglass Acoustic wall panels
  • Fabric acoustic wall panels
  • Composite Acoustic Panels
  • Grooved wooden acoustic wall panels
  • Wooden fiber acoustic wall panels

Where do Acoustic Panels Work Best?

This is a question that every person who is considering starting a soundproofing project should be asking. Every type of soundproofing has places where it is most effective.

Acoustic Panels work best in a situation where large amounts of sound are being generated inside a closed space and the sound waves have nowhere to go.

Think of a room with surround speakers on four corners of the room. The sounds emanating from the four speakers clash and collide with each other resulting in overbearing chaos of loud sounds. This is why you will see, professionals suggest you set up acoustic panels parallelly, on the opposite walls of the speakers.

This is to ensure that the above-mentioned mess is not created and you can enjoy the sounds, be it from a movie or from a video game without hurting your ears.

The Bottom Line

If you are trying to use Acoustic Panels in open places or in large rooms, they may not be as ideal. They also do not work well when it comes to stopping sounds from leaving a room. But that's just it because as already mentioned, the science of soundproofing is an umbrella that includes many techniques and mechanisms and not all of them are effective for all purposes.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Loretta Osakwe Awosika

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