What is a High Damping Acoustical Material?

February 03, 2015

Sounds are vibrations in a range of frequencies that we can hear. Vibration is an oscillating energy made up of cyclically repeated forces of specific frequencies. The energy that is transferred to an entity by these forces causes the back and forth or up and down movement called vibration. Since vibration is caused by waves of energy, it has both a frequency (number of oscillations per second) and an amplitude (strength). It is important to control both attributes. Vibration energy with a high amplitude (high strength) is considered high pressure vibration—delivering a high level force with each vibratory impact. Frequency is important because different frequencies interact with substances in different ways. Every material, or system of materials, has what is known as a natural, or resonance frequency. When the frequency of the vibration in a system, matches that of the resonance frequency of the system itself, that system will begin to resonate—the vibratory energy waves will begin to build on one another, continually increasing the amplitude of the vibration. In this way, a lower amplitude vibration can increase in strength by simply feeding on the lower level of energy being supplied.

Sources of unwanted noise, associated problems, and solutions

Noise may be unwanted for various reasons. High level noise from heavy machinery, industrial equipment, and pneumatic tools can result in hearing loss, with certain frequencies being more damaging than others. These sounds, or acoustic vibrations, are accompanied by mechanical vibration that can cause damage to your equipment and various other medical issues for your workers, including circulation problems, nerve damage, and degenerative back conditions. Unwanted sound can also be found outside of the workplace. Music studios have a critical need to control frequencies and sound levels. Products, such as CD/DVD players and speakers, must eliminate unwanted noise to present pure desirable sound. Clearly, there is a need to address unwanted acoustic and mechanical vibration. To remedy this situation, you must find a way to dampen these vibrations safely and effectively. What is a high damping acoustical material? Sorbothane® is the most efficient acoustic and mechanical vibration damping material on the market.

What is Sorbothane and how does it protect against acoustic vibration?

Sorbothane is a unique proprietary viscoelastic polymer. Viscoelastic means that Sorbothane exhibits properties of both liquids (viscous solutions—ones that can flow) and solids (elastic materials). Sorbothane flows like a liquid when it is under a load (experiencing acoustic and mechanical vibration). It acts like an elastic solid by returning to its original shape after forces are removed. Unique to viscoelastic materials, Sorbothane safely disperses absorbed energy (from vibration) outward from the source of impact in the form of heat, protecting machinery and workers. It can also withstand the broad range of temperatures encountered in the workplace without hardening, melting, becoming sticky, or losing its effectiveness. What is a high damping acoustical material? Sorbothane is specified by engineers worldwide for its acoustical and mechanical vibration damping properties—its ability to decrease the amplitude of the vibration, as well as changing the frequency to avoid harmful or unwanted frequencies, such as resonance frequencies.

Standard Sorbothane products and customization

The Sorbothane line includes standard products that will effectively damp acoustic and mechanical vibration. Our Sorbothane Bushings and Washers are essential for absorbing vibration and noise in machinery. To meet your specific vibration damping needs, Sorbothane Strips and Sheet Stock are offered. Application of these products can eliminate acoustic and mechanical vibration due to metal on metal contact in equipment. Quieter designs result for consumer appliances and audio equipment when Sorbothane is incorporated into the product. Sorbothane can provide superior noise control when used to line the walls of recording studios, practice rooms, and acoustic test chambers. Customization is also available by contacting our engineering staff.

Contact Sorbothane for further information on our standard products or to find out how our engineers can work with you to develop a unique solution for you.