Acoustic Shielding Solutions for MRI Installations

Acoustic Shielding Solutions for MRI Installations
Acoustic Shielding Solutions for
MRI Installations
The Issue: Increasing Noise Levels in
MRI Environments
With the introduction of
more powerful gradient coils
on today’s high field MRI
scanners, MRI equipment is
producing increasingly high
noise levels. During a typical
scan sequence, many newer
MRI systems will produce
average sound pressure levels
(SPL) as high as 100 to 110
dBA, with peak levels of
120 dB. These high scanner
noise levels can interfere
with patient comfort, patienttechnician communication,
and staff working efficiency.
noise suppression specifications
often exist
During a scanning procedure, the
patient is located at the epicenter
of the resonator module (which is
comprised of the magnet, RF and
gradient coils). While the patient is
exposed to the noise for only a short
time, technicians and other staff
are subjected to long-term noise
Airborne and Structureborne Noise
The first step in planning for acoustic
shielding is to gain an understanding
of noise sources and sound
The following descriptions of
airborne and structure-borne noise,
Sound Transmission Loss (STL)
and Sound Transmission Class
(STC) ratings will help you to better
understand acoustic principles as you
plan for sound abatement in your
MRI suite and adjoining areas.
From a given MRI scanner,
noise may be generated
through two acoustic
transmission paths:
1. the air (airborne noise) and/or
2. the building structure (structureborne noise)
Airborne noise is created when the
magnet produces a high-energy
Sound Pressure Level (SPL) that
excites the air within the MRI room.
This action is similar to that of a
powerful loudspeaker. Airborne
noise may be transmitted into
surrounding rooms by reflecting off
of surfaces, or by escaping through
openings such as seams, small holes,
HVAC ducts, waveguide entrances,
penetration panels, and cracks. The
noise can travel great distances.
Structure-borne noise is carried
through solid structures rather than
through the air. Also called gradient
noise, structure-borne noise occurs
when gradient coils in the scanner
Moreover, the noise can travel from
the MRI room into adjoining rooms
and corridors, thereby disturbing
other building occupants.
Consequently, acoustic shielding
or suppression is required in many
newer MRI installations, particularly
in such sites as:
• New building complexes where
adjacent suites will be affected
• Older facilities that were not
originally intended for MRI
• Hospitals and clinics, for which
Typical weak links in acoustic
performance of MRI environment
cause mechanical excitation of the
floor or building structure, which in
turn causes the building to vibrate.
The vibration of the surfaces in
surrounding spaces then radiates as
acoustic noise. The noise concern
can be further complicated when
the MRI system is installed in
an elevated floor condition. Like
airborne noise, structure-borne noise
can travel great distances.
Understanding Sound
Following are descriptions of Sound
Transmission Loss (STL) and Sound
Transmission Class (STC) ratings.
Sound Transmission Loss
Airborne sound is transmitted
through a barrier in much the
same manner as is a radio
frequency signal. When a
sound wave traveling through
the air strikes a barrier surface,
most of the sound energy is
either reflected back into the
source room or absorbed in
the barrier, but some of the
sound energy penetrates the
barrier and is detectable in
the receiving room. As sound
penetration occurs, the sound
wave exerts a fluctuating
pressure on the barrier,
causing the wall to vibrate like
a diaphragm and radiate sound
to the receiving side of the
barrier. The heavier the barrier
and the less the vibration, the
greater the sound attenuation.
The theoretical relationship
describing the Sound
Transmission Loss (STL) of
a nonporous, homogeneous
barrier in terms of weight per
square foot or surface area
and frequency, is expressed
in the “Mass Law” equation.
The Mass Law equation is as
TL = 20 log w + 20 log f -33.5 dB
w = weight of barrier in lbs/ft2
f = frequency of interest in Hz
The Mass Law equation states
that the transmission loss of a
homogeneous barrier increases
6 dB with each doubling of the
weight of the construction, and
by 6 dB with each doubling
of frequency. The heavier the
barrier in lbs/ft2, the higher the
transmission loss.
A single solid panel delivers
lower performance than the
Mass Law equation would
predict. Coincidence effects,
related to the panel’s stiffness,
may degrade the panel’s
performance significantly.
By contrast, a true “double
wall” with separate,
unconnected studs performs
better than the Mass Law
equation predicts. The
transmission loss tends to
increase about 5 dB for each
doubling of the air space
between studs (minimum air
space approximately 2 in).
Equally as effective is the
resilient attachment of surface
“skins” to studs or other
structural surfaces.
Absorptive material in
the cavity between studs,
particularly for lightweight
constructions, also improves
transmission loss.
“Viscoelastic” (somewhat
resilient but not fully elastic)
materials such as certain
insulation boards can serve
to “damp” or restrict the
vibration of panels. When
used with rigid panels (such as
gypsum boards), they increase
transmission loss appreciably.
Sound Transmission Class
Acoustic barriers and materials
are typically designated a
Sound Transmission Class
(STC) rating. The STC rating
or number is the average
figure, across a frequency
band, used to express the
decibel loss when sound
energy passes through a
material or combination of
materials. STC numbers are
not additive; i.e., adding an
STC 30 barrier to an STC 50
barrier does not create an STC
80 assembly. The assembly
may have an actual STC
number of 53 or 55.
All other transmission paths
are insignificant. Readings
are taken at 16 third octave
frequency band intervals.
These measured transmission
loss levels are plotted on graph
paper (preferably transparent)
and compared against
an ASTM “Criterion” or
reference curve. The reference
curve is adjusted vertically
over the test data curve until
the sum of the test data points
that are below the reference
curve does not exceed 32 db.
At the same time, no test data
extends below the reference
curve by more than 9 dB.
The STC of the sample under
test is read at 500 Hz. This
STC number is generally
published in manufacturers’
data sheets on building
materials commonly used for
the construction of interior
To determine the STC of a
material, engineers at qualified
independent acoustical
laboratories typically subject
the material to transmission
loss measurements over a
series of 16 bands (125 Hz to
4,000 Hz). During a material
test, the material sample is
placed between two rooms.
Sound originating from
the source room must pass
through the test sample to
reach the receiving room.
Designing for Acoustically
Enhanced Rooms
Most acoustic noise is
airborne and not only affects
patients and technicians in
the room, but also travels
through walls, floors, ceilings,
and structural gaps to affect
persons in adjoining spaces.
(For structure-borne noise
problems, see the section on
“Isolation for Structure-borne
Noise,” Page 8).
ensure that no issues are left
Acoustic noise abatement
is made possible with a
combination of conventional
building materials, fiberglass
panels, mineral board fillers,
mass loaded vinyl, sealants,
and absorbent linings for
ducts. In this section, we
will examine material and
structural design solutions for
acoustically enhanced room.
Considerations include:
Planning and Design
Numerous considerations
should be taken into account
when planning for acoustic
shielding. Addressing each of
the following considerations
can help to determine the
proper acoustic shielding
solutions as well as the extent
of the shielding needed to
Typical paths of
transmitted and
reflected acoustical
noise within MRI suite
An acoustic engineer can
help with the analysis of the
following considerations. If
you are installing acoustic
shielding without consulting
an acoustic engineer, a
sound absorption kit is
1. Building structure
(existing or future).
Determine what, if any,
acoustic enhancement
exists. Determine the
level of transmission loss
in the walls, floors and
ceilings. If plans are for
a new structure, evaluate
the building materials
and construction plans,
and use the “Suggested
Design Guidelines,” Page
6 in this manual, to plan
for acoustically favorable
2. Type of MRI equipment.
Decibel levels will vary
according to the type of
scanner and its gradient coil
components. These levels
can be obtained from the
magnet manufacturer. If
a site planning or siting
manual is not available, then
measurements should be taken
at a distance of a meter.
3. Transmission path of
noise, if known. Determine
whether the noise is airborne
or structure-borne, or both.
Each requires a different
method of sound absorption.
4. Surrounding rooms.
Determine what the adjacent
rooms are (or will be ) used
for, and how often they will
be occupied. If the noise is
(or will be) a concern to the
surrounding room occupants,
determine the noise level
that is transmitted to adjacent
5. Frequency of MRI
equipment use/frequency
of peak noise. Evaluate how
often, or how many hours per
day, the equipment will be
operated. Evaluate how often
this will involve peak noise
6. Upgrades or
modifications. Upgrades
or modification of the MRI
equipment, the MRI suite,
surrounding rooms, or the
purpose of surrounding rooms
should all be considered
when planning for acoustic
Design Guidelines
The following text and
diagrams are intended to
assist you with information
and suggested construction
methods for promoting a
successful MRI installation.
You should always default to
proven general construction
methods and procedures as
the primary means of acoustic
noise suppression.
The Magnet Room (MR).
While noise generated by
the MRI is inherent to the
operation of the system,
the introduction of sound
absorbing materials can
Designing for Acoustically
E n h a n c e d R o o m s CONTINUED
lessen the effects of sound
reverberation in the Magnet
Room. The measured sound
levels within the space via
a sound level meter will
not change. However, the
measured sound levels can
only be reduced when the
sound level generated by the
MR system is reduced.
Sound quality (reverberation)
improvements can be
achieved through the
following methods:
Using ceiling tiles with
fiberglass panels having
a 2-in. (51mm) thickness
set into the standard
T-bar grid system.
Adding fiberglass panels
to the sidewalls covering
approximately 20% or
more of the sidewall
surface area. The panels
should cover the top half
of the sidewalls.
Panels can take many
decorative shapes to
improve the sterile look
of the rooms. Typical
panels are 4 ft. x 6 ft.
(1.2 m x 1.8 m) with a
thickness of 4 in. (102
mm) or equivalent. Panel
shapes may be varied to
produce mosaic effects
to meet the customer
Any decorative materials
used to cover the wall
panels must be porous,
allowing sound waves
to pass through freely.
A person should be
able to breathe through
the decorative cover
material with ease. A fire
retardant cloth should be
used. The NRC (Noise
Reduction Coeffecient)
of the panels should
be 0.95 or better when
mounted against a hard
surface such as drywall
or concrete.
Interspatial Areas.
Controlling noise from being
transmitted to surrounding
spaces often amounts to
paying attention to small
details while working
with ordinary construction
materials. Sound that exits
the room through cracks,
gaps or poorly constructed
joints is called “flanking”
noise. The key objectives in
controlling such noise are to:
Eliminate all cracks
and gaps in the wall
Ensure that doors, floors,
walls, and ceilings have
adequate transmission
loss via mass or special
double wall construction.
Ensure that all doors
and windows are welldesigned to fit well.
Surround the entire
magnet with walls
having substantial mass
and/or double wall
Seal wall junctions with
acoustical sealant.
outer layers of drywall
should have their seams
offset from one another
by a minimum of 6
inches. Beads of USG
acoustical caulking
(non-hardening) is
recommended around
the entire perimeter of
the drywall.
Any form of wall
penetration should
be avoided or sealed.
The sealant should
be a combination of
acoustical caulking
and fiberglass batting
The wall structure must
join the ceiling and floor
structures so that no
cracks or gaps occur. If
a structural, metal pan
ceiling is used, then flute
seals will be necessary
to seal the gaps between
the drywall and the pan.
Alternatively, drywall
can be cut out to fit into
the flutes. Acoustical
caulking should be used
to seal the remaining
cracks and gaps.
The cavity wall
constructed inside the
RF shield should employ
acoustic treatments.
The cavity wall should
employ acoustic
In principle, the MRI room
should be rendered airtight
to prevent sound waves from
escaping into adjacent areas
of the building.
Wall Construction.
Wall construction should
involve ordinary building
materials in a carefully
designed configuration.
To achieve the preferred
acoustic wall construction
having an ASTM STC 50 or
better rating, the following
parameters are advised:
Use a standard wall
construction of 2 layers
of GWB (Gypsum
Wallboard) typically
5/8 in., with steel studs
(typically 3 5/8 in.) and
fiberglass in the stud
cavity. This construction
should result in a total of
four layers.
Both the inner and
Air Gap
RF Panel w/ Sound Insulation Fill
Acoustic Tile Drop Ceiling
Studs or
Resilient Furring Channel
Deck, Parent Ceiling
Ceiling Support
Copper Shield
Layer 5/8 in. Drywall
w/Optional 2cd Layer
3” Air Gap
Seams Sealed with
Acoustic Chalk
Copper Shield
RF Panel w/
Sound Insulation Fill
3 5/8 in. Stud
5/8 in. layer Drywall
Vibration Isolation Pad
Located at Magnet
Copper Shield
Epoxy Adhesive
Epoxy Isolator
Parent Floor
Designing for Acoustically Enhanced
treatments. The cavity
wall should be filled with
fiberglass insulation. Two
layers of 5/8 in. GWB should
be applied as the interior
surface finish. Follow the
above recommendations for
the application of acoustical
Air Ducts. Ventilation
ductwork can carry unwanted
noise from the MRI room
to surrounding rooms. Two
solutions are recommended:
Line the air duct walls
with a thick, absorbent
Place intermittent baffles
within supply and return
Plumbing, Penetration
Panels, RF Windows, and
RF Doors. The following
construction details are
equally important to mitigate
noise transmission:
Pipes (gas or water)
and electrical conduit
or Magnet Room signal
cables must be sealed
where they penetrate the
walls or ceiling.
Penetration panel areas
should be enclosed in an
acoustically dampened
closet or small room
with acoustically rated
access door(s).
RF windows should be
purchased as window/
frame units with an
STC rating obtained
from laboratory testing
per ASTM standards.
STC 40-50 windows
are recommended. The
installation must include
proper sealing to avoid
sound leaks.
RF doors should be
purchased from an RF
shielded room supplier
and proved an STC 30
or higher rating to quell
the noise. Contact an RF
shielded room supplier
for selection of RF
doors that meet the local
acoustic codes and site
acoustic requirements.
RF door seals must
be selected to prevent
small gaps around the
door perimeter and at
the door threshold. RF
door seals may require
periodic replacement
due to normal wear and
tear. Acoustic gaskets
should also be adjusted
more expensive than GWB,
lead sheets afford a thinner
wall section and are easily
formed. Lead sheet is heavy,
with a surface density of 59
lbs./sq. ft./in. of thickness.
Because it has an inherent
limpness or softness, lead
cannot be easily set in
Isolation for Structureborne Noise. When possible,
the magnet should be set
up on the ground floor and
designed with either an
isolated room slab or magnet
pad. This minimizes the
transmission of vibration
from the scanning equipment
to the floor or walls, thereby
hindering mechanical
coupling. When mounting
the MRI equipment onto a
magnet pad, the MRI should
be loaded to bear its weight
with elasticity. Position the
elastomeric pads underneath
the magnet’s support points
to alleviate some of the noise
radiating from the magnet. If
the magnet cannot reside on
the ground level, consult an
acoustic engineer.
Lead Shielding. Lead
shielding can be a very
effective means of providing
sound abatement. Although
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Acoustically Rated ETSLindgren RF Doors
While most RF doors
provide little in the way of
acoustic performance, ETSLindgren’s acoustically
rated RF doors have been
developed and fully tested
to deliver outstanding STC
ratings for sound abatement.
These acoustically enhanced
versions of standard MRI
RF doors feature proprietary
designs on both the door
leaf and perimeter jamb
area seals that provide the
highest STC rating. Without
acoustically rated designs, it
would require an expensive,
massive, and difficult-to-use
door to achieve a favorable
sound rating in an RF door.
By contrast, the specially
developed acoustical seal,
design, core material and
overall weight of ETSLindgren’s acoustically rated
RF doors help to minimize
opening and closing forces to
provide ease of use.
For existing construction,
ETS-Lindgren offers sound
abatement kits for both its
MR4 RF door and its fully
automatic Auto-Seal™ II
RF door. These kits are
available in STC 30 and
higher configurations. The
STC 32 versions provide
user-friendly operation and
high RF performance at a
reasonable cost.
Acoustically Rated ETSLindgren RF Windows
ETS-Lindgren’s acoustically
enhanced window assemblies
are completely sealed and
offer unique construction
features to provide an STC
rating of 40.
The window construction
consists of two layers of high
visibility screen material to
optimize visibility and to
minimize moire distortion.
The aluminum flame-sprayed,
precision extrusion is fitted
with 1/4-inch laminated safety
glass on both sides, and each
glass layer is sandwiched
between a neoprene rubber
base gasket on the inside
extrusion surface and a plastic
snap-in glazing bead on the
exterior side. This combination of production features
provides excellent sound
abatement while protecting the screen material and
sealing out dust.
ETS-Lindgren’s standard
RF shielded view window,
used between the operator
control room and the MRI
room, has an ASTM STC 40
rating. Further improvements
to the window area can be
achieved by adding a third
layer of laminated glass to
the exterior finished wall
assembly. This addition will
provide an STC rating of 44
or higher.
The use of leaded radiation
glass could also be used. The
added mass of the leaded
glass will further improve
the STC rating of the view
window area.
RF Shield Decoupling
Auto-Seal™ II Door
For enhanced sound
abatement in MRI rooms, it
is imperative that the type of
RF shield used be completely
independent of the parent
room walls. ETS-Lindgren
RF shields are self-supporting
and do not rely on the parent
room walls for structural
support. With this type of
construction, the air space
between the RF shield and the
acoustically designed parent
ETS-Lindgren’s ClearShield™
Window Wall
walls acts to further reduce
sound transmission.
Acoustic Wall Systems
ETS-Lindgren’s acoustic wall
systems can help achieve
STC 50+ ratings of the MRI
suite wall assembly. These
wall systems feature layered
construction and insulating
material to provide high
STC ratings. Non-hardening
acoustical caulking should be
used to seal all cracks, gaps,
and penetration holes.
Acoustically Enhanced RF
Depending on the acoustic
contribution needed, we can
provide “rock wool” inserts
(for minimum acoustic
contribution), “mineral
wool” inserts (for moderate
acoustic contribution), or
high-density fiberglass inserts
(for maximum acoustic
contribution). A variety of
acoustic panel inserts for
your site-specific needs are
High-density fiberglass
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S o l u t i o n s C O N T I N U EI DS O L A T E D C O N C E P T
acoustic inserts may be placed
in all wall and ceiling surfaces.
When used with STC 50+
rated parent wall assemblies,
without penetrations, the
RF shield wall and ceiling
assemblies are capable of
contributing additional STC
rating points between 10 and
30, depending on the type
of interior wall preparations
provided by the customer and
the type of shielding material.
This contribution would be
made to the entire acoustic
assembly, consisting of parent
walls/ceiling, RF shield
acoustic modification, and
finished interior walls.
Acoustic Floor Systems
While the thickness and
construction of MRI suite
floors vary considerably, the
mass of reinforced concrete
floor slabs work as an
effective shield to airborne
noise. The estimated STC
ratings for such floors is STC
48 for 3 1/2 in. slabs and STC
52 for 5 1/8 in. floor slabs. The
floor is, however, the point at
which structure-borne noise
and vibration are transferred
from the MRI equipment
(magnet) to the surrounding
A variety of acoustic floor
systems can be provided
depending on the parent
floor construction and the
amount of sound and vibration
dampening required. Acoustic
floor solutions can include:
decouple the magnet from the
structure, thus minimizing
structure-borne noise and
optimizing structure-related
noise insulation.
Floating slabs: entire
room or magnet only
Elastomeric pads: entire
floor or magnet footprint
Elastomeric isolators:
magnet and patient table
When using elastomers
to dampen vibration,
consideration must be given
to selection, loading, and
tuning of the dampening
material to ensure optimum
performance. This may mean
that different materials must
be used to accommodate the
various loadings that will
exist at wall, general floor and
magnet mounting locations.
These floor construction
configurations will provide
both acoustic barriers to noise
and vibration dampening to
ETS-Lindgren can provide
Parent wall condition
8" c/c typical
Repeat on 8" c/c
Typical steel wall studs
2 layers – 5/8" GWB
Fill cavity with fiberglass
insulating material
Alternate: Fill this area with fiberglass
insulating material with air gap at GWB
surface (provides higher STC rating)
Air space between RF shield
& parent wall (2" typical)
Off set stud c/c by a 1" min.
16" c/c
RF shield assembly.
Optional acoustic kit can be installed.
Interior 5/8î GWB. Use 2 layers
5/8î GWB for higher STC
Interior steel wall stud
Space can be filled with
fiberglass insulation
Optimal construction method to achieve STC 50+ acoustic rating of the MRI suite wall assembly
Detail 2
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each of these floor systems
depending on site conditions
and particular isolation
Acoustic Absorption Kits for
RF Shields
As an option, ETS-Lindgren
offers sound absorption kits
that can be applied directly
to the RF shield walls and
ceiling. The addition of one of
the kits to the RF shield, when
no other acoustic construction
methods have been instituted
to the overall construction of
the MRI room, will have only
a limited effect on total noise
control of the MRI resonator.
One must keep in mind that
the bulk of the noise reduction
control remains with the
primary building structures,
not the RF shield.
For New Construction.
The customer should follow
the recommendations for
construction of the parent
room walls and ceiling
areas as discussed in this
manual, or at the direction
of their architect or acoustic
consultant. The use of the
recommended parent room
structures will provide the
least expensive yet highly
effective acoustic shield
if desired. An optional RF
shield acoustic kit can be
provided. If an RF acoustic
kit is used, it will only
result in an additional 5-17
dB increase in the overall
structural performance of the
room. The new cavity wall
constructed inside of the RF
shield should employ acoustic
treatments. The cavity
wall should be filled with
fiberglass insulation. Two
layers of 5/8 in. GWB should
be applied as the interior
finish surface. Follow the
above recommendations for
the application of acoustical
caulking (non-hardening).
For Existing Sites. At
locations where the RF shield
will be placed within existing
parent wall structures, the
addition of a shield kit may
be appropriate. The customer
may still find that it will be
less expensive to replace
the existing parent walls
with acoustically constructed
wall assemblies. If the
existing walls were to remain
unaltered, then the addition
of the RF kit along with the
construction acoustically
rated walls within the interior
of the RF shield would
prove beneficial. Again, the
overall contribution of the RF
shield kit to a wall assembly
consisting of existing parent
room partitions and new
interior acoustic partitions,
would be marginally
beneficial. The new cavity
wall constructed inside of
the RF shield should employ
acoustic treatments. The cavity
wall should be filled with
fiberglass insulation. Two
layers of 5/8 in. GWB should
be applied as the interior
finish surface. Follow the
above recommendations for
the application of acoustical
caulking (non-hardening).
G l o s s a rTy H aEn dD OS U
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Airborne Sound- Sound transmitted
through air as a medium rather than
through solids or the structure of a
differentials are measured in
one-third octave bands and compared
with standard contours as per ASTM
E 413.
Attenuation, Sound- Reducing the
intensity of a sound signal.
Noise Reduction (NR)- The
difference in sound pressure level
between any two points along the
path of sound propagation. As an
example, noise reduction is the term
used to describe the difference in
sound pressure levels between the
inside and outside of an enclosure.
Noise reduction is usually expressed
as a function of full octave or
one-third octave bands.
Coupling- Any means of joining
separated masses of any media so
that sound energy is transmitted
between them.
Damping- Any means of dissipating
or attenuating vibrational energy
within a vibrating medium. Usually
the energy is converted to heat.
Decibels- Ten times the logarithm
(to the base of 10) of the ratio of
two mean square values of sound
pressure, voltage or current. The
abbreviation for “decibels” is dB.
Flanking Paths- Transmission paths
which transmit acoustic energy
around a sound barrier; paths which
“bypass” the intended barrier.
Frequency- The number of cyclical
variations per unit time. Frequency
is generally expressed in cycles per
second (cps), also denoted Hertz
Mass Law- An approximation that
describes the Sound Transmission
Loss (STL) of a limp, flexible
barrier in terms of mass density and
frequency. For each doubling of the
weight or frequency of a partition,
Mass Law predicts a 6 dB increase in
STL. The Mass Law provides rough
estimates of STL for single wall
structures; however, deviations from
laboratory-measured results may be
10 dB or more. For double wall or
other complex structures, the Mass
Law does not apply.
Noise Isolation Class (NIC)- A
single number noise reduction rating
of a partition, room or enclosure
where sound pressure level
Noise Reduction Coefficient
(NRC)- The arithmetic average, to
the nearest multiple of 0.05, of the
sound absorption coefficients in the
one-third octave bands centered at
250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and 2,000
Hz. By convention, the maximum
NRC used is 0.95, even though the
published laboratory average may
be greater.
Octave Bands- Frequency ranges in
which the upper limit of each band is
twice the lower limit. Octave bands
are identified by their geometric
mean frequency or center frequency.
One-Third Octave BandsFrequency ranges in where each
octave is divided into one-third
octaves with the upper frequency
limit being 2 1/3 (1.26) times the
lower frequency. Identified by the
geometric mean frequency of each
Reverberation Time- Time required
for average sound pressure level in
a room to decrease 60 dB after a
steady state source stops generating
Sound Absorption Coefficient (a)The dimensionless ratio of sound
energy absorbed by a given surface
to that incident upon the surface.
Sound Power Level (Lw)- The
acoustic power radiated from a given
sound source as related to a reference
power level (typically 10-12 watts)
and expressed in decibels.
Sound Pressure Level (SPL)- The
ratio, expressed in decibels, of meansquare sound pressure to a reference
mean-square pressure which by
convention has been selected to be
equal to the assumed threshold of
3. The STC or NIC rating is the
decibel level corresponding to the
level of the contour at 500 Hz.
4. British Standard 5821 Part 1-1984,
and ISO 717/1-1982, “Rating the
Sound Insulation in Buildings and of
Building Elements,” Rw, weighted
sound reduction index, plots
one-third octave bands between 100
and 3, 150 Hz. Deviations, divided
by 16 frequencies, must not exceed
2 dB.
Sound Transmission Class (STC)A single number decibel rating of
the transmission loss properties of
a partition. Measured transmission
loss data is plotted versus frequency
and compared with standard contours
according to rules outlined in ASTM
E 90 and ASTM E 413.
Structure-borne Noise- Generation
and propagation of time-dependent
motions and forces in solid materials
which result in unwanted radiated
Sound Transmission Coefficient
(t)- The ratio of sound transmitted
through a partition of that incident
upon the partition.
Vibration Isolation- Reduction of
force or displacement transmitted by
a vibratory source. Often attained by
use of resilient mount.
Sound Transmission Loss
(STL)- A logarithmic ratio of the
sound power incident on one side
of a partition to the sound power
transmitted on the other side. STL
is usually rated in one-third octave
bands or full octave bands.
STC or NIC Determination- Based
on comparisons with reference
contours specified in ASTM 413
at one-third octave bands ranging
from 125 Hz to 4,000 Hz, STL is
plotted versus frequency for STC
determination, while NR is plotted
for arriving at NIC.
The following maximum deviations
from STC contours are permitted:
1. The algebraic sum of deficiencies
below the contour must not be
greater than 32 dB for bands between
125 and 4,000 Hz.
2. The largest single band deficiency
is not greater than 8 dB.
Structure-borne Sound- Sound
energy transmitted through the solid
media of the building structure.
C 634- Standard Terminology
Relating to Environmental Acoustics
C 919- Standard Practice for Use of
Sealants in Acoustical Applications
E 90- Standard Test Method
for Laboratory Measurement of
Airborne Sound Transmission Loss
of Building Partitions
E 336- Standards Test Method for
Measurement of Airborne Sound
Insulation in Buildings
E 413- Standard Classification
Rating Sound Insulation
About ETS-Lindgren
The ETS-Lindgren Group is the world’s largest and most
experienced supplier of shielding solutions for electromagnetic
and radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI). With over 6,000
proven MRI installations, we are the worldwide leader in MRI
Shielding Systems.
We have installed over 25,000 successful shielded enclosures
within a variety of industrial, governmental, and medical
environments around the world.
Call upon ETS-Lindgren for our unequalled understanding of
both practical and theoretical shielding principles. ETS-Lindgren
is highly skilled at applying these principles with a breadth
and depth of technical expertise in architectural, mechanical,
structural, acoustical, and security related areas.
Because controlling electro­magnetic energy is our only business,
you can be assured of our commitment to the highest quality and
product reliability that stand the test of time.
Our products, materials, and workmanship are backed by a
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