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The German soundproofing specialist G+H Noise Control has established a cutting-edge laboratory for acoustic measurement. It is proving a valuable tool for customer applications and research alike.

Part of the German group G+H (VINCI Energies), which is active in insulation, fire protection, and technical planning for buildings, G+H Noise Control specialises in soundproofing. In 2019, the company installed a cutting-edge laboratory for acoustic measurement: the Acoustic Competence Center (ACC).

As Business Unit Manager Andreas Zell explains, “We built a lab equipped with every possible standard acoustics application, flexible enough to also cover R&D for our own products and those of our customers.”

“A prime venue for developing young talents and training specialists”

The facility, located in the Mannheim area where G+H is based, notably houses an anechoic chamber and semi-anechoic chamber. The anechoic chamber has its walls, floor and ceiling entirely covered with sound-absorbing wedges, and is used for testing at frequencies at 100 Hz and above. The room complies with ISO 26101 and contains ultramodern acoustic absorbers for applications in line with the DIN EN ISO 3745 Class I standard.

The semi-anechoic chamber is equipped with a reflecting floor able to support heavy loads (up to 5 tonnes per square metre) and contains a special flat acoustic panel that can measure frequencies of 30 Hz and higher.

“Depending on our needs,” continues Andreas Zell, “We can use the anechoic and semi-anechoic chambers in combination, and also an adjacent reverberation chamber.”

Advanced measurement

The Acoustic Competence Center is also equipped with duct for measuring the insertion loss of sound attenuators up to 10 metres long.

These sound attenuators are metal baffles, of different thicknesses ranging from around 100 to 500 millimetres, filled with absorbing material and covered with perforated sheeting. As Andreas Zell explains, they are used in different sizes “Depending on whether we are testing standard one- or two-metre ventilation or climate control applications, industrial air supplies between three and six metres long, or applications up to 10 metres long, such as for heavy-duty gas turbine’s exhaust stacks.”

Testing, consulting and training

Possible applications for the ACC range from validating the basic acoustic materials in a conventional building to running tests customised to a customer’s specific needs. The installation allows researchers to measure noise emissions from all kinds of devices and the directivity of speakers or microphones. G+H is also in the process of developing the next generation of sound absorbers.

Andreas Zell explains: “In the case of applications relating to the tertiary building sector, the process involves installing the test item, be it a door, window, or complete wall or ceiling, in an opening between two reverberation rooms. A stochastic signal is generated on one side, and the sound pressure level is recorded from both sides. The difference between the two readings tells us how effective the test item is in terms of soundproofing. The real expertise lies in knowing how to combine layers of materials to achieve the perfect balance between the use of material and soundproofing performance.”

In addition to its pure measurement capabilities, the Acoustic Competence Center also offers its customers a consulting service on soundproofing solutions. Andreas Zell says, “The large number of tests and applications available in acoustics and related areas also makes the ACC, which updates its equipment every year, a prime venue for developing young talents and training specialists at G+H Noise Control. And so, every six months, we welcome students conducting fundamental research in the field of acoustics.”