Sound Insulation Application

Use of Nova Chemicals EPS foam for airborne sound insulation applications

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Introduction

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is widely used in the construction industry, particularly as a thermal insulant.
Requirements for sound insulation in the construction industry are becoming increasingly important in Western Europe, Protection against noise is one of the 6 essential requirements for a building as defined by the EU Construction Products Directive (CPD) 89/106/EEC. Buildings must be designed and constructed so that noise experienced by occupants or people nearby is low enough not to threaten their health or interfere with their sleep, rest or work. Most national building regulations set minimum requirements for sound reduction, which differ from country to country.

The use of NOVA chemicals EPS foam board in combination with other building materials, effectively reduces transmission of airborne sound in walls, roofs and floors. The EPS foam needs to be elastified by compression of the EPS block in this application. This post-treatment of EPS foam is also widely used for producing impact sound insulation board. Most available literature recommends the use of open-cellular foam and fibrous materials for airborne sound insulation applications. Elastified EPS foam board is not well known in this application and is often overlooked. This may be because standard EPS board, simply cut from blocks, is not effective for airborne sound insulation.

NOVA Chemicals manufactures and markets a comprehensive range of expandable polystyrene grades which are suitable for elastification.
The aim of this bulleting is to give an outline of the use of NOVA Chemicals EPS foam in airborne sound applications, including:
– The principles of sound, sound insulation and the terminology used.
– A model to predict acoustic sound insulation and practical guidelines for the correct design of a multi-layered building element.
– The advantages of using NOVA Chemicals EPS foam for airborne sound insulation.
– The processing and properties of NOVA Chemicals EPS foam for airborne sound insulation.

Advantages of using NOVA Chemicals EPS foam for airborne sound insulation

The critical frequencies of common building materials such as cement, concrete and wood are very close to that of common speech. The high mass of these materials compensates for that disadvantage, but this can lead to excessively heavy buildings. This makes them less suitable for acoustic insulation when used alone.

NOVA Chemicals EPS foam is widely used for thermal insulation in the construction industry, in combination with other construction materials such as cement, plaster, chipboard and metal. When used in combination with other building materials, NOVA Chemicals EPS foam board effectively reduces transmission of airborne sound in walls, roofs and floors. However, in this application, the EPS foam must be elastified by compression of the EPS block.

Standard EPS board, simply cut from blocks, is not effective for airborne sound insulation. This is illustrated in the following example. Figure 6 and 7 show the effect on the acoustic insulation of a solid cement wall (density 2350kg/m3, Young’s modulus 21 GPa and shear modulus 8.9 Gpa) with a standard EPS/Plasterboard Panel (density EPS 10kg/m3) of various thickness of EPS)
EPS-Nova-Sound-insul--6-10-tif