If you take a look at renowned concert halls, many of them are known for their beautiful ornamentation and coffered ceilings. While these features may have originally been included as an elaborate design element, this intricate detailing provided acoustical benefits as well. These design details have fallen out of style in much of modern architecture, and as a result sound diffusive surfaces inherent to the construction of many rooms is no longer prevalent. This necessitates an appropriate way to create modern sound diffusing shapes, which resulted in the development of the Shape Optimizer software.
Many contemporary classroom designs are not yet benefitting from the growing wealth of technology available to improve educational environments. When creating a learning space, there are several new approaches that can be utilized to increase the effectiveness of the space and improve its impact on the students. One such tool is the use of adjustable intensity and color lighting, which has been shown to increase reading speeds, cut down on testing errors, and even have some impact on hyperactivity. Similarly, new, more balanced approaches in passive acoustical design of education spaces can provide improvements in the projection, audibility and intelligibility of the lessons and conversations that take place throughout the learning day. Current approaches towards acoustical design in classrooms primarily involve adding sound absorption, such as an acoustical tile ceiling. While this can generally solve the problem of excess reverberation in a small space, it also removes valuable early reflections that reduce critical speech energy unnecessarily. To improve upon this approach, a proper blend of absorptive, diffusive and reflective surfaces throughout the learning space can yield improved speech levels and content without having to rely on electronic enhancement systems. This means more information is conveyed to every student at all times, not just the ones sitting closest to the teacher, and not only when the microphone is turned on. An absorption only approach cannot address all of the nuances of acoustical needs which now can be addressed. A balanced design that successfully combines all passive acoustical surface technologies available – absorptive, diffusive, reflective – comprises a hybrid approach that is the future of acoustics in educational environments.
This week, we’re taking a look at a research report coming from the Chesapeake Acoustic Research Institute regarding multi-layer absorption products. Traditional fiberglass panels, made of 1” or 2” fiberglass wrapped in fabric, suffer from an undesirable amount of high-frequency absorption, leaving a room sounding “dead”. As a result, RPG Acoustical has developed two products with this in mind: the Broadsorbor and Modsorbor. Working with a multi-layer absorber offers the ability to specify the absorption coefficient for whatever specific need there may be. To read the full research report, take a look here.
This week, we want to highlight some research being done by our team regarding the use of fabric as a covering for absorptive panels. Using the normal incidence coefficient, the research has determined two key directives: if absorption performance of the substrate is desired, then a highly transparent fabric is necessary. In contrast, if you are looking for an absorption performance that differs from a substrate, one option may be to use a backed or less than fully transparent fabric. Download the full test report.