How Do Acoustic Panels Work

Sound absorption is a key concept in acoustics. It is essential for making a comfy and balanced sound environment. It involves the reduction of sound energy through its conversion into other forms, typically heat. Sound waves hit a porous surface, like an acoustic panel. Some of the energy is absorbed and dissipated in the material. This reduces sound reflections and reverberations. This process improves speech. It reduces noise and creates a better speaking and listening environment.


Acoustic Panels Sound Absorption: A Technical Breakdown

Acoustic panels absorb sound waves. These waves would otherwise reflect off hard surfaces, like walls and ceilings. This reflection causes echoes and reverberation. The best acoustic panels are made with special materials. These materials have high sound absorption. That means they effectively capture and dissipate sound. Sound waves hit an acoustic panel. The panel's porous structure makes the waves go in and change into heat. This happens from friction in the panel. This process reduces the loudness of sound reflections in the room. It makes the room quieter and more acoustically balanced.



Here's a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Sound Wave Interaction

Sound waves are pressure fluctuations. They move through the air and hit the acoustic panel. Unlike hard surfaces, which reflect these waves, the porous nature of the panel (e.g., foam, felt) allows partial sound penetration.

2. Impedance Mismatch & Energy Dissipation

The abrupt transition from air to porous material creates an impedance mismatch. This mismatch disrupts the sound wave's path. It turns some of its energy into friction within the panel's pores.

3. Resonant Absorption

Depending on the panel design and material properties, resonant absorption may occur. Here, certain sound frequencies match the panel's resonant frequencies. This leads to more energy conversion through vibration. Then, the energy turns into heat.

4. Reduced Reverberation

Sound waves interact with the panel. Their energy diminishes, leading to lower sound pressure and, finally, less reverberation in the space. This means speech will be easier to understand. It will also reduce noise fatigue and create more control over the acoustics.


Key Considerations

1. Porosity & Material

The size of the pores and material properties greatly impact the absorption coefficient (α) of a panel. This coefficient determines how well the panel absorbs specific sound frequencies.

2. Panel Thickness & Design

The panel's thickness and shape affect its resonant absorption. They allow targeted absorption of specific frequencies.

3. Placement & Application

The placement of panels in a space is crucial. It must be strategic and consider factors like sound source and paths. This is to achieve the best acoustic control.

Remember: Acoustic panels mainly absorb sound inside. They reduce reverberation and improve clarity in a space. They do not effectively block sound transmission through walls or other barriers. Consider the acoustic treatment of your space after you have soundproofed it effectively.



You can see more about our residential and industrial soundproofing solutions HERE.


Types of Acoustic Panels and Their Effectiveness

There are several main types of acoustic panels. Each has unique traits and is good at absorbing sound.

1. Acoustic wood panels

The panels are made from high-quality wood veneer. They offer charm and help with acoustics. They absorb sound waves through their porous surface. This effectively reduces echo and reverberation in any space.

Check out our collection HERE.



2. Fabric-covered panels

The panels are made of a core of technical polyurethane acoustic foam. They absorb sound well and reduce unwanted echo in any interior space. Their versatility in size, shapes and colours beautifully complements any interior style.

Check out our collection HERE.

3. Slatted wood panels

Featuring a series of horizontal or vertical slats, these panels offer a modern and stylish solution to sound absorption. The slats let sound waves pass through. They are absorbed by the material behind. This creates a balanced and pleasant sound environment.

Check out our collection HERE.

4. PET-Felt panels

PET-Felt panels are made from recycled plastic bottles. They are not only green but also great at absorbing sound. Their dense composition traps sound waves. This stops them from bouncing off hard surfaces and making unwanted noise.

Check out our collection HERE.



5. Ceiling baffles

Suspended from the ceiling, these panels provide an overhead solution to sound control. Their placement helps break up sound reflections. This reduces reverberation, improving speech clarity and acoustic clarity.

Check out our collection HERE.

6. Foam sound absorbers

Foam panels are lightweight and easy to install. They are popular for sound absorption in recording studios, home theaters, and more. Their open-cell foam structure allows sound waves to pass through. It reduces echo and reverberation in the space.

Check out our collection HERE.

7. Bass traps

Bass traps are designed to target low-frequency sound waves. They are essential for controlling excessive bass buildup in a room. Putting them in corners or along walls helps absorb low-end frequencies. This results in a more balanced and accurate sound.

Check out our collection HERE.



8. Diffusers

Other sound absorbing panels don't scatter sound waves. They send them in various directions. This breaks up sound reflections and makes a more natural acoustic environment. They work in tandem with all other panels to achieve optimal sound control and balance. 

Check out our collection HERE.


Choosing the Right Acoustic Panels

When choosing acoustic panels, you must consider many factors. They ensure the panels work well and look good. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Acoustic Performance 

Determine the level of sound absorption needed based on the size and function of your space. Higher-density panels offer better sound absorption and are ideal for noisy environments.

2. Aesthetic Appeal

Choose panels that complement your interior decor style and enhance the overall ambience of your space. Select a sleek contemporary design that seamlessly integrates with any design scheme.

3. Installation Method

Consider the mounting options for acoustic panels. Choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Installation methods can vary. They include glue, tape, screws, hooks, etc. They provide versatility and ease. 

4. Environmental Impact

Choose eco-friendly acoustic panels. They are made from sustainable materials. They help you reduce your carbon footprint and support environmental conservation. 



Installation and Placement Tips for Maximum Sound Absorption

Properly install and place acoustic panels well. They are key to absorbing sound and improving a space's acoustics.

1. Identify problem areas

Start by identifying the areas in the room where sound reflections and echoes are most noticeable. These are typically large, flat surfaces like walls, ceilings, and windows.

2. Coverage

Determine the amount of coverage needed based on the size of the room and the desired level of sound absorption. In general, it is recommended to cover around 25-50% of the total wall and ceiling surfaces with acoustic panels.

3. Placement

Strategically place the panels in the identified problem areas to minimise sound reflections. Consider placing panels at the first reflection points. These are the spots where sound waves first hit a surface after leaving the sound source. This includes the corners of the room, wall-ceiling junctions, and wall-floor junctions.

4. Spacing

Follow the specific instructions for each product. They say how much space to leave between the panels. This helps absorb low-frequency sounds. It stops sound from getting trapped behind the panels.

5. Experimentation

Fine-tune the placement of the panels by experimenting with different configurations. Consider using both absorption and diffusion panels. They create a balanced sound environment.

Interested in the optimal placement of acoustic panels in your music studio? Check out the expert tips from our acousticians in the article HERE.

Follow these installation and placement tips. They will help you maximize the sound absorption of acoustic panels. They will also improve your space's acoustics.



Benefits of Using Acoustic Panels in Different Settings

Acoustic panels offer many benefits. They work in homes, offices, and schools.

1. Improved sound quality

Acoustic panels reduce echoes and reverberation. This improves sound clarity and intelligibility. This is key in spaces where communication is crucial. These spaces include conference rooms, classrooms, and podcast or recording studios.

2. Noise reduction

Acoustic panels absorb sound waves. They reduce unwanted noise and make an environment more peaceful and comfortable. This is beneficial in settings such as offices, restaurants, and healthcare facilities.



3. Aesthetical appeal

Acoustic panels come in many designs, colors, and finishes. They let you choose options that complement your space's look. They can be customised to blend seamlessly with the interior design or serve as decorative elements.

4. Versatility

You can install acoustic panels on walls or ceilings. You can also use them as freestanding partitions. They are flexible in where and how you can place them. They can be easily removed or repositioned as needed.

5. Safety and compliance

In some settings, like schools or healthcare facilities, acoustic panels can help. They can meet safety and compliance rules by cutting noise and ensuring good acoustics.

Adding acoustic panels to different settings brings these benefits. It also creates a more comfy and useful space.

Studies have shown that panels can reduce reverberation time with acoustic treatment. This improvement leads to better student performance in classrooms. Also, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health did research. It shows the bad health effects of workplace noise. This underscores the need for good sound absorption.



Do you need more assistance in taking the right decision and improve your environment acoustically? Drop us a line.


Back to blog
1 of 3