Nowadays, a lot of people take double glazing for granted. Yet, just a generation ago, this was a relatively new invention that solved a lot of people’s sound insulation and warmth problems. Double glazing meant no scraping ice from the window panes in the depth of winter and a much quieter life than in previous generations.
However, as times move on, people want and expect more and more from their windows and doors. And while triple glazed windows have been around homes near airports or in colder places like Sweden where they first appeared, there is something much more noise reducing: acoustic glass.
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With the world’s population soaring, people are moving closer and closer together. There are fewer rural homes and more people living closer to industrial estates, busy roads, motorways, airports, and train lines. With this comes a lot more noise pollution.
Noise pollution is a problem that affects many people both at home and at work. As well as being distracting, it can cause people serious distress. After a long day at work, most people want a quiet place to relax at home without the added background noise of the nearby train line, noisy road or industrial yard.
Or, as many of us now do, if you’re working from home, you want a quiet environment in which to do so. For these reasons, there has been an increase in people looking to install acoustic windows to replace their existing windows and double glazing.
Acoustic glazing is a special type of noise reduction glass that can be installed in offices and homes. These noise reduction windows are constructed of two (or more) laminated glass panes. The panes are laminated with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and are bonded with the same material. Polyvinyl Butyral can reduce noise and soundproof windows.
Unlike double or triple glazing, acoustic windows and doors appear to have one pane of glass.
Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) is a type of resin that is used for its ability to form a strong bond while maintaining optical clarity. What’s more, it’s flexible, tough, and will adhere to a variety of surfaces. PVB is made by reacting polyvinyl alcohol with butyraldehyde.
The most common applications for PVB are in laminated safety glass and windscreens as well as acoustic windows.
PVB has excellent capabilities of reducing noise levels inside a building without reducing the light transmittance or clarity of the window. What’s more, this glass meets all of a home or office’s interior sound insulation needs.
You might often hear people talk of acoustic glazing or an acoustic window. Essentially, an acoustic window is a noise reduction window that is made from at least two pieces of noise reduction glass that have been bonded with polyvinyl butyral (PVB).
It is possible to buy new windows with acoustic glazing already installed or you can upgrade your existing windows and standard double glazing with this energy efficient secondary glazing.
The amount of noise reduction achieved is determined by the glass thickness. The thicker that glass panes, the more sound insulation and less sound leakage there’ll be.
Acoustic windows are also safety. As well as preventing noise intrusion, they are a toughened glass that performs well under impact.
If a heavy force or heavy object comes into contact with an acoustic window, the glass might fracture but no loose pieces will escape. This is because all of the broken glass fragments will be bonded to the interlayer of PVB, which means glass shards can’t escape. What’s more, because of the glass strength, acoustic windows are a deterrent to any would-be burglars who will have a tough job breaking through them.
All in all, acoustic windows are excellent at keeping a business or home secure, warm and protected from external noise.
Many people want to know how acoustic glazing actually works. Essentially, the laminated glass layer and PVB interlayer reflects any noise back to its source. These windows also reduce noise by absorbing the sound energy in the glass.
The acoustic performance of the glass can be increased with thicker panes. Not only does a thicker pane of glass have a greater noise reducing effect, but it also improves the insulating properties of the windows.
To summarize, acoustic glazed windows work by reflecting and dissipating sound waves that reach the glass. The level of noise reduction is determined by:
The thicker the panes of glass used, the greater the noise reduction.
A strong hydrocarbon bond interlayer dampens soundwaves and increases their noise reducing capabilities without impacting thermal efficiency or light clarity.
It is possible to increase noise reduction significantly with larger spacing between glass panes.
To prevent sound vibrations penetrating further, the space between panes can be filled with a heavy inert gas like argon gas. This will make costs rise, however.
It is possible to get a single pane of acoustic glass too.
Glass, by its nature, is a poor conductor. It doesn’t easily absorb sound. This means that outside noise can enter the office or home very easily. Pre-1980s, most homes had single glazing, which meant a lot of noise got into the property. Double glazing started to become more popular due to its soundproofing and insulating abilities.
The difference between a double glazed window and an acoustic window is that the noise reduction of a double glazed unit works by reflecting noise rather than absorbing it. An acoustic window is much more effective at noise reduction because it absorbs the noise.
There are numerous benefits to having acoustic windows rather than a double glazed unit or a triple glazed unit.
To summarize, as well as being excellent with noise reduction, acoustic glass increases a window’s strength dramatically. It also improves the window’s energy efficiency. Reducing noise in the home has many benefits. These include positive effects on wellbeing, improved sleep, better relaxation, and thus, people report having more energy.
An acoustic window works by reducing how much noise can enter the property by its two panes of PVB laminated glass and a PVB interlayer. Polyvinyl butyral has excellent sound absorbing properties and doesn’t compromise or reduce the light transmittance or clarity of the window. There are also additional security, safety and thermal benefits with improved energy efficiency.
Acoustic glass can also be used in secondary glazing for sash windows or on a current window to increase their acoustic performance.
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Does triple glazing have more soundproofing capabilities compared to acoustic windows?
Although triple glazing is an improvement on noise reduction compared to double glazing thanks to the extra pane. The glass in the windows are solid and rigid, making them poor conductors. They are not capable of absorbing any external noise. Acoustic glass, however, can absorb noise.
There is some evidence that triple glazing can increase the penetration of sound as this third pane can work as an extra material that transmits sound waves.
What other ways can a business or home be soundproofed?
Other ways to soundproof a property include: