Sound Baffles: What They Are, and How They Work

Sound Baffles - Setup

Are you looking to improve the overall sound performance in your space? Sound baffles, such as Primacoustic’s Saturna baffles, are acoustic treatment panels that are suspended vertically from the ceiling. These baffles are typically hung by attaching two small-gauge steel cables to anchor points between the panel and the ceiling. Each baffle comes in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit spaces of varying sizes and requirements.

How Does it Work?

Baffles primarily work like other ceiling or wall-mounted acoustic panels. The sound energy penetrates the panel, causing the tiny glass wool fibers inside the core material to vibrate. These vibrations produce friction between the fibers producing minuscule amounts of heat, this heat dissipates quickly throughout the panel; converting sound energy into thermal (heat) energy. As Einstein said “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

Why use Sound Baffles?

Baffle acoustic panels have become a preferred option when acoustically treating large space with high ceilings, as they provide a larger absorptive surface area, they can be positioned at various heights and require less labour to install. In very tall spaces, it is common to encounter a ceiling made of steel decking or concrete. These building materials are considered to have low absorption coefficients, in other words; they are highly reflective and do not absorb sound well.

These two physical characteristics of a room will increase the amount of time a particular sound will remain audible, even after the original sound source has stopped. As sound travels towards the ceilings, it will encounter these highly reflective surfaces. Only a very small amount of energy will be absorbed in the surface, allowing the sound wave to have enough energy to continue travelling within the room.

Baffles are particularly effective, as they can absorb both the direct sound from a sound source, the reflections from ceilings and higher sections of the walls.

Other Benefits

Another benefit is that an acoustic baffle hangs within the free space of the room; this is where sound waves travel fastest. Placing a sound absorber in these areas will reduce the sound energy before it has a chance to reflect from parts of the walls or ceilings; particularly if these are installed with staggered heights. In rooms where mounting acoustic panels to the wall surfaces may not be suitable, suspending baffles from the ceilings provide an effective alternative.

Baffles (Saturna) are often paired up with ceiling clouds (Nimbus) for a highly effective acoustic ceiling treatment. Care should always be taken when embarking on this type of project, especially to ensure you are not violating any fire code regulations. You should always check with your local fire marshall and inform them of what you are planning to install. Need help? Contact us today for a free quote, and more information. Our team of experts is here to help.

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