What Is a Sound Absorber?

A sound absorber is a material that takes in the energy of a sound wave rather than reflecting it. This reduces the level of echo and reverberation in a space, which is essential for creating a more comfortable environment for work or play.

Sound absorption is not to be confused with soundproofing. The latter refers to preventing sound waves from being transmitted through structures, such as walls and ceilings. This may be achieved through a variety of methods, including decoupling (separating the barriers) and sound absorption.

When a sound wave hits a hard surface, it bounces off the surface and then travels through the air. This is known as reflection and acoustic impedance is related to the frequency of the sound wave and its incidence angle.

Harmonizing Environments: Exploring the Role of Sound Absorbers

Soft, pliable materials serve as excellent acoustic insulators and absorb most of the energy of the sound wave. On the other hand, dense, impenetrable materials reflect most of the energy of the sound wave.

Sound absorbing materials take in the energy of the sound wave and convert it into heat, so the wave can no longer bounce off other surfaces. This helps to reduce reverberation and echoing in spaces, which improves clarity. The absorption of a sound absorber depends on its thickness, porosity and the nature of the material. For example, a mineral wool batt will be very effective at absorbing mid-range and high frequencies, but will not function so well with bass tones. Consequently, the best sound absorber is often a combination of materials, such as a mineral wool batt with a foam composite.