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The acoustic performance of glass partitions is becoming increasingly important in the modern workplace, with the growing need for quiet rooms and meeting rooms where confidential conversations can take place.

There are many similar products on the market but how can you accurately compare the acoustic effectiveness of these products to ensure that you choose the right one. Optima’s Technical Manager, Peter Long, explains.

Measuring the Acoustic Effect of Glass Partitions

Acoustic effectiveness is known as the sound insulation or sound reduction performance. It is normally referred to as the Sound Reduction Index (SRI) and is defined as the ability of a partition to reduce the level of sound passing through it.

This method of measurement, under controlled laboratory conditions, allows direct comparison between similar products.

Testing the sound insulation of glass partitions

Sound insulation testing is carried out under controlled conditions in a purpose-built testing chamber.

This comprises two acoustically isolated rooms – the source room and the receiving room – ensuring there is no acoustic flanking between them.

Between the two rooms is a testing aperture, into which the representative partition sample is installed.

Noise is generated in the source room on one side of the partition. An initial measurement is taken within the source room, followed by another measurement on the other side of the partition – the receiver room. Corrections are then applied for background noise and the amount of absorption within the receiving room.

The difference between the two levels gives us an appreciation of the airborne sound insulation performance of the partition, or the Sound Reduction Index ‘R’. The bigger the difference, the better the performance.

All of Optima’s products are tested for acoustic performance in a UKAS accredited laboratory in Salford, Manchester, and full test reports are available upon request.

How to ensure an accurate comparison

In order to accurately and directly compare the acoustic performance of similar glass partition systems, it is essential that the laboratory tested Rw(dB) value of each system is obtained. Not only will this allow a fair comparison, but it will also give you peace of mind that the system you specify is fully tested and certified.

The SRI is measured by testing a partition sample in an acoustic laboratory in accordance with EN ISO 10140-1 and 2. The result is expressed in dB (Rw) in accordance with EN ISO 717-1.

This method of measurement, under controlled laboratory conditions, allows direct comparison between similar products.

Testing the Sound Insulation of Glass Partition

Sound insulation testing is carried out under controlled conditions in a purpose-built testing chamber.

This comprises two acoustically isolated rooms – the source room and the receiving room – ensuring there is no acoustic flanking between them.

Between the two rooms is a testing aperture, into which the representative partition sample is installed.

Noise is generated in the source room on one side of the partition. An initial measurement is taken within the source room, followed by another measurement on the other side of the partition – the receiver room. Corrections are then applied for background noise and the amount of absorption within the receiving room.

The difference between the two levels gives us an appreciation of the airborne sound insulation performance of the partition, or the Sound Reduction Index ‘R’. The bigger the difference, the better the performance.

All of Optima’s products are tested for acoustic performance in a UKAS accredited laboratory in Salford, Manchester, and full test reports are available upon request.

How to Ensure and Accurate Comparison

In order to accurately and directly compare the acoustic performance of similar glass partition systems, it is essential that the laboratory tested Rw(dB) value of each system is obtained. Not only will this allow a fair comparison, but it will also give you peace of mind that the system you specify is fully tested and certified.

For a more in-depth look at acoustic testing and acoustic performance we invite you to read Expert Opinion: Acoustic Privacy.

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