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Acoustic Management

 vibration chart

The industrial workplace has become more sensitive to noise in machinery and other products. Consumer expectations are that products are quieter, have less vibration and do not interfere with conversation or music.

This is a trend among purchasers of vehicles, home appliances, electronic devices and many other products. There are several sources of noise in the operation of equipment. The most important distinction is between structure-borne noise and air-borne noise.

acoustic management chart

Structure-borne noise is the situation in which mechanical vibration energy is generated by a product and travels through the structure of the product and materials it is in contact with. There are three basic ways to reduce this vibration and the noise from it. One solution to addressing structure-borne noise is to prevent the vibration which can originate from friction. This can be done by introducing a low friction surface between parts of a product which move against each other. Another solution is to change the vibration mode of the structure by attaching damping material to it, resulting in dissipation of the vibration. That is, the structure can no longer vibrate as easily and the structure-borne vibration energy is constrained and converted to heat energy. A third solution is to isolate the vibration from traveling from one part of the product to another part of the device or to an adjacent structure. Isolators, often rubbery pads, are used to separate parts of a product or to separate a product from its surroundings. This prevents vibration from spreading.

Air-borne noise results from the interaction of a vibrating surface with the surrounding air. Three ways to reduce air-borne noise are absorbers, barriers, and layers which prevent buzz, squeak, and rattle. Buzz, squeak and rattle prevention is commonly accomplished by attachment of pieces of foam. Air-borne noise absorbers are typically foam or fiber materials that absorb sound energy and turn it into heat energy. Noise barriers are typically solid materials with surfaces that reflect sound.

3M provides technologies and solutions in all six areas of acoustic management.

3M™ Vibration Damping Tape, when applied to parts of a device that have a tendency to vibrate, dampens the vibration through constrained layer damping. The tape is made from a soft polymeric damping material, which is also an adhesive and can be used to attach the tape, and a thick aluminum foil which constrains the polymeric material. When the device vibrates, the polymeric damping material is placed in elongation mode by the vibration force, but the foil constrains it from elongating, converting the vibration energy into heat.

3M™ VHB™ Tape, when used in assembly of panels, provides a visco-elastic layer between the two rigid surfaces it is bonding together and is constrained by both panels. Vibration in either panel places the VHB material in elongation mode, but its elongation is constrained by the rigidity of the panels, resulting in the conversion of the vibration energy into heat energy through constrained layer damping.

3M™ Slick Surface Tapes are made using low friction films; both UHMWPE and PTFE are supplied. These films are coated with an adhesive for easy attachment in places between moving parts which generate vibration. The tape provides a low friction surface which prevents the initiation of vibration.

3M offers a broad range of laminating adhesives, which can be used to laminate to a broad range of foam and cushioning materials to provide solutions that reduce buzz, squeak and rattle noise by helping to prevent noise emission from product surfaces.

3M™ Bumpon™ Protective Products are rubber pads used as feet or door stoppers which isolate parts of a device and prevent the transmission of vibration. These pads are supplied with an adhesive for easy attachment.

3M™ Thinsulate™ Acoustic Insulation absorbs air-borne noise in its unique fiber structure and can be used in many products.

The 3M™ E-A-R™ Business provides sound barrier materials, which can be used to reflect air-borne noise.

  • 3M can assist in a wide range of products and solutions to address each of the six sources of noise in product design.
  • Please or call us at 1-800-362-3550 to discuss your needs and your designs and ask us how 3M technologies can reduce noise in your products.

3M, Bumpon, E-A-R, Thinsulate, and VHB are trademarks of 3M Company.

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