SCALE-MODEL INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECT AND OPTIMAL DESIGN OF SOUND ABSORBERS IN AN OPEN-PLAN OFFICE
The UBC Vancouver AERL building fourth-floor open-plan student area contains TECTUM sound-absorptive baffles located flat against, and suspended from, the ceiling. Is this the optimal configuration or would they, for example, be more effective if located in a different configuration? This paper discusses tests performed in a 1:8-scale open-plan model with 18 workstations, using a suitable 1:8-scale-model sound-absorbing material (6-mm-thick felt), to investigate the sound absorption provided by acoustical treatments such as baffles in AERL and find the optimal configuration. Both the reverberation time (T_20 in s) and sound level decrease per doubling of distance (DL2 in dB/dd) were tested for 15 different absorber configurations (suspended, ceiling-mounted and sidewall absorbers and their various combinations), including the current configuration. The optimal absorber configuration ? absorber covering the whole ceiling and, the second best, a combination of all types of absorber ? was the same for both T_20 and DL2, and performed much better than the current configuration of the AERL space area.
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