World-first test proves acoustic curtains reduce noise
Independent testing of acoustic curtains reveals it’s possible to achieve a significant drop in noise levels with the right curtain fabric.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to reduce noise affecting your space. Whether you’re watching a home movie in your lounge room, creating a serene bedroom environment for your children, or wanting to reduce chatter from a neighbouring classroom or office, outside noise can be an unwelcome distraction – if not downright annoying.
While certain steps can be taken to minimise the impact of noise in your home, learning or office space, few are as effective as fitting acoustic curtains.
This fact was confirmed during recent testing carried out by Acoustic Blinds and Curtains (ABC) at a state-of-the-art acoustic facility in Sydney. Calibrated equipment was used to measure the performance of several acoustic curtain configurations, which included ABC fabrics with Exclusive Acoustic Blockout Lining, Coated Acoustic Blockout Lining and Acoustic Blockout PVC Lining.
The tests conducted on each fabric showed that use of the acoustic curtains can reduce total noise produced in a neighbouring room by between 7dB and 10dB. That is a clearly noticeable decrease in noise levels when compared to rooms fitted with traditional window furnishings.
The best performer was the ABC Curtain Fabric with Exclusive Acoustic Blockout Lining, which achieved a Level Difference Improvement of 10dB. The Level Difference Improvement denotes the reduction in level of sound due to the combined effect of sound insulation (a factor of the mass or surface density of the acoustic curtain) and sound absorption (caused by the viscous flow of air through the acoustic curtain material).
None of the tested curtain fabrics recorded less than an 8dB Level Difference Improvement.
To put that reduction in perspective, noise and vibration experts indicate that a 5dB noise reduction can be detected clearly by the human ear, while a 10dB reduction is perceived as reducing noise by approximately half.
Eliminating that amount of noise can make all the difference to your enjoyment of your home – or to productivity levels in your classroom or office board room.
Verifiable noise improvements
The lab testing carried out on the ABC curtains was overseen by acoustics engineers who interpreted the findings and confirmed the positive results.
They carried out the tests by generating random sound in what was termed the ‘Source Room’, which was separated from the ‘Receiving Room’ by a glass panel. Measurements were taken of sound levels transmitted to the Receiving Room containing the acoustic curtains hung over the glass panel.
Three omnidirectional speakers acted as the sound source, while 12 microphones and a 12-channel pulse signal analyser system measured the results.
As well as conducting the test in controlled conditions at the testing facility, the acoustics engineers ran a real-world test in an apartment in Parramatta, Sydney, to measure how the curtains performed in an everyday living room situation.
“We got similar results, with a difference of one or two decibels,” said the expert in charge of the test. “You have to contend with a lot of variations in a real-world situation, but doing it in the lab makes the result universal.”
The results of both tests proved what was already noticeable even to the naked ear – a clear reduction of noise levels by half in both real-world and laboratory conditions.
Acoustic Blinds and Curtains is a provider of quality sound-absorbent products that can reduce noise levels and improve acoustics in classrooms and other open-plan spaces.