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How acoustic foam works


How does acoustic foam work?

The science of sound can be complicated, particularly in relation to the travel of sound waves and resonance. For those needing to source foam for a professional setting or indeed for a personal project, navigating the different types of acoustic foam on offer can be tricky. This is often the case when many online sources talk about the differences between the absorption of sound and the total blocking of sound.

In order to understand how acoustic foam works, and to indeed select the correct foam insulation, it is important to learn the fundamentals of how sound works. To put it simply, sound is seen as a vibration of energy, and when a particular object vibrates (such as speakers), the air around it vibrates. These vibrations are carried as sound waves, which are then identified by your ears and processed by the brain into a relevant category, such as a familiar voice or as music.

Different types of foam insulation are used to manipulate the shape, intensity and direction of these sound waves in order to either absorb their vibrations or block them entirely. Due to the different material composition of various objects, they each reflect and absorb sound waves in different ways. This is where the principle of using materials with different surface textures comes into fruition. What material you choose all depends on the type of room or space you are trying to soundproof, and for what reason.

Acoustic foam performance

If you are simply wanting to reduce the amount of noise in any given space, sound absorbing foam is what you are after. This specialist foam is designed to soften hard surfaces in a room. A perfect everyday example of where this foam is often used is in a church or other old building that has little soft furnishings to rebuff sound waves. Sound absorbing foam has an open and flexible cell structure to help absorb sound waves. It is this open-celled structure that draws the energy out of the sound wave to ensure a reduced amount of sound is reflected back into a room.

It is worth bearing in mind that sound absorbing foam can also be used to enhance sounds within a space. For example, wedge or pyramid shaped absorbing foam can alter sound waves and improve sound quality. Such practise is often common in sound recording studios.

Acoustic foam close up

Alternatively, you may wish to completely sound proof a space. In order to fully block sound, foam with a closer celled structure is most suitable. These foams are denser and thicker and in turn, prevent the travel of sound waves into certain areas. However, completely sound proofing a room is easier said than done. Depending on how important it is to fully block out sound, this specialist foam may need to be installed within a wall cavity for maximum effect.

Many innovations are underway in the sound proofing and absorption space. For example, this includes the formulation of new materials that help to fully insulate vibrations and in turn, completely block out sound from chosen areas. Recent news has revealed that this product may allow for sound to only travel one way – an excellent, industry leading achievement.

eFoam is the leading supplier of foam for industrial, commercial and personal use. Should you wish to discuss your soundproofing requirements with a friendly member of our team, please contact us.

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