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Acoustics-is a science which deals with the

production, control, transmission, reception
and effects of sound in an enclosed

Speed (c)- The speed of sound in air

has been measured as 344 m/sec
(1,130 ft/sec). This corresponds to
1,240 km/hr (770 mi/hr) which is
extremely small as compared to the
speed of light (300,000 km/sec).

WAVELENGTH () The wavelength

and the frequency of sound are
related to each other as shown in
the equation below.

Sound-is the human ears response to

pressure fluctuations in the air caused by
vibrating objects.
wave motion-Sound travels in space


Physical Quantities of Sound

c = speed in meters per time

f = frequency in cycles per time
= meters

Frequency (f)-the number of sound

ripples generated in unit time.
Frequency of the wave- The number
of cycles that the air particles move
back and forth in one second in a
sound wave

10-12 W/m2- The sound intensity

which is just audible, called the
threshold of audibility

Its unit is cycles per second (c/s)

which is also termed Hertz (Hz)
After physicist Heinrich Hertz
Eight frequency bands, or octaves, are
considered in room acoustics

INTENSITY - is defined as the amount

of sound power falling on (or passing
through, or crossing) a unit area.
Since the unit of power is watt (W),
the unit of sound intensity is watt per
square meter (W/m2).

10 W/m2- the intensity that

corresponds to the sensation of pain
in the human ear

Characteristics of sound

LOUDNESS is a measure of the

intensity of sound and is expressed in
decibels (dB). It is a quantity called
the sound intensity level (IL).
PITCH is the frequency of sound
wave perceived by the human ear.
A high-pitched sound means that it
has a high frequency. The female
voice is slightly higher pitched than
the male voice.

rooms with highly reflective surfaces.

The effect would be to emphasize
certain frequencies at the expense
of others, which is undesirable for
balance desired in rooms intended
for music.

Acoustical concerns in
Noise Control
the control of air-borne noise
through the insulation of sound or
the shutting-out of unwanted sounds
from the outside.

the control of structure-borne noises

through the isolation of machines
from the rooms or the buildings

Principal Acoustic Defects of


Prolonged Reverberation long

reverberation time (RT) due to large
amounts of highly reflective surfaces
and/or to large volume of space
which will take considerable time for
reflected sound to die out.
Blurring- Effect of prolonged

Echo distinct reflection of original

sound which results when the path of
reflected sound is 20 m (65 ft) or
more than the path of direct sound.
If the difference is less than 20 m, the
reflected sound will reinforce the
direct sound which is desirable.
highly reflective- It is recommended
that the surfaces of the front part of
an auditorium

Resonance is the reinforcement of

certain sound frequencies due to
sympathetic vibrations. This is
especially the case in enclosed

Flutter Echo a rapid but repetitive

succession of sounds caused by
highly reflective parallel surfaces
(wall to wall, or ceiling to floor).

Undue Focusing of Sound is caused

by concave surfaces which causes
sound to converge at certain points
with resulting loss of energy in other
parts of the room.


Absorption coefficient the fraction of the
incident sound energy absorbed by a
anechoic chamber a sealed room in
which all the surfaces are designed to
completely absorb all sound produced in
the room.
attenuation a reduction in sound level.
Sound attenuation in air-conditioning is
specified in terms of dB per meter.
background noise ambient noise
break-in noise transfer of noise from a
space surrounding the duct into the duct
through duct walls.
break-out noise transfer of noise from
the interior of a duct through duct walls
into a space outside the duct.
dead room a room containing an
unusually large amount of sound

decibel (dB) a unit of measurement for

sound pressure level, sound intensity level
or sound power level.
diffraction a change in the direction of
propagation of sound as a result of
bending caused by a barrier in the path of
a sound wave.

extent that at times its sound pressure level

falls below a measurable level.
inverse square law a law which states
that the sound intensity in a free field varies
inversely with the square of the distance
from the source.
isolation a lack of acoustical

diffuse sound (field) a sound field in

which the sound comes in equal intensity
from all directions.

leak a small opening in a barrier that

allows airborne sound to pass through.

direct sound the sound that arrives at a

receiver along a direct line from the source
without reflection from any surface.

live room a room containing an

unusually small amount of sound

echo a sound that has been reflected

with sufficient time delay.

loudness an auditory sensation that

depends on sound pressure level and the
frequency of sound.

environmental noise exterior

background noise in a neighborhood (ie.
traffic, aircraft).
fidelity faithful reproduction of a sound
flutter echo a rapid but repetitive
succession of sound from a sound source
usually occurring as a result of multiple
reflections in a space with hard, flat and
parallel walls.
frequency the number of full cycles per
second measured.
impact noise noise caused by the
collision of two objects.
infrasonic a sound that is below the
human audible frequency, below 20 Hz.
insulation see isolation
intermittent sound a sound which is
discontinuous or fluctuates to such an

masking the increase in the threshold of

audibility of a sound that is required so that
the sound can be heard in the presence of
another sound.
noise isolation class (NIC) a single
number rating derived from the measured
value of noise reduction between two
noise reduction (NR) the reduction in
sound pressure level of noise.
noise reduction coefficient (NRC) a
single number rating derived from
measured values of sound absorption
coefficients of a material at 250, 500, 1000
and 2000 Hz.
outdoor-indoor transmission class (OITC)
a weighted single number rating of the
sound reduction effectiveness of a
partition that separates an indoor space
from the outside.

pitch a listeners perception of the

frequency of a pure tone.

sound pressure level see sound intensity


reflection coefficient a measure of the

sound reflective property of a surface.

sound transmission class (STC) a single

number rating of the sound insulation
rating of a partition.

resonance the relatively large

amplitude of vibration produced when the
frequency of the source of sound is equal
to the natural frequency of a room.

structure-borne sound sound

propagated through a solid structure.

reverberant sound field a sound field

created by repeated reflections of sound
from the boundaries in an enclosed space.

transmission coefficient the ratio of

transmitted sound energy
to incident sound energy
transmission loss (TL) is the measure of
sound insulation of a partition.

reverberation the continuation of sound

in an enclosed space after the initial
source has been terminated.
reverberation time (RT) the time it takes
for sound intensity to decay by 1 millionth
of its steady state value after the sound
source has been terminated.
sabin a unit of measure of sound
scattering an irregular diffraction of
sound in many directions.
sound insulation the ability of a barrier to
prevent sound from reaching a receiver.
sound intensity (SI) the average rate of
sound energy flow through a unit area in a
given direction.
sound intensity level (SIL) a quantity
expressed in decibels of airborne sound.
sound lock a small space that works as
a buffer between a source room and a
receiving room.
sound pressure fluctuating pressure of
sound superimposed on the static air

wavelength distance between two

adjacent compressions or rarefactions in a
sound wave.
white noise a noise whose energy is
uniform over a wide range of frequencies.
This is analogous to the term white light,
which consists of almost equal amount of
light of different wavelength (colors). A
white noise sounds hissy.