Modular Sound Absorbing Unit : A system solution for implementation of noise abatement appliance in indoor environments
Abstract: There is a rising concern about the effects of noise on human health. The noise from our technologies and comforts that evokes a negative physiological response as a response, effects like cardiovascular disease, cognitive and hearing impairments are all examples of critical health results stemming from prolonged noise exposure (WHO, 2004 & 2018). A reaction to the insight of the effects of noise pollution is directives and policies to fight noise pollution, both at a European union level but also member state level (EU, 2002). The applied Swedish policy is enforced by the Swedish work environment authority which has given the following provision for indoor environments and workplace design (AFS 2009:2) which states “4 § Work should be planned, conducted and be followed up so that noise exposure is reduced through eliminating noise from its source or is reduced as much as possible. Consideration should also be taken into the technological advancements and the possibilities to reduce noise.”. This is where this master thesis project comes in to develop a modular sound absorbing unit that could help in the fight against noise pollution and reduce the negative effects of prolonged noise exposure. The master thesis is performed as a part of our final master’s degree course in the program- me of industrial design engineering at the Luleå University of Technology. The company Sontech International AB served as client and collaborator for the master thesis. The objective for the project was to develop a modular sound absorbing unit that uses Sontech’s unique sound absorbing materials to break into a new market, diverging from their previous focus on industrial applications. The project was based in the product design specification developed in the inspiration phase of our project, stemming from the data gathered in needfinding and current state analysis, in conjunction with Sontech. The product design specification was split into three segments of need, function and design which was used in the remaining phases of ideation and implementation. From there the ideation phase consisted of different types of brainstorming methods and explorative prototyping to cre- ate a large sum of ideas to later be analysed through a design space evaluation process which resulted in five distinct concepts. The ideation phase was concluded in a selection of the final concepts to be brought into the implementation phase. The implementation phase entailed refinement of the concepts through testing and detail design. The final design concluded in a modular sound absorbing system called Unison which consist of two modes of thinking, vertical aligned units called Acustibrick for building sound absorbing walls. The other is horizontally aligned units called Acustitile made for creating sound absorbing & deflecting roofs. For each of unit there is the option two pick two types of material, acustimet which is an aluminium sheet with micro perforations which gives it its sound absorbing properties. The second material is acustiboard which is a cardboard sheet made of paper honeycomb and two thin outer layers of paper, this outer layer is perforated to give the material its sound absorbing properties. The units are constructed with stamped holes, called interface, which are aligned to allow mounting on different objects depending on the user’s choice. These objects, called the architecture, can be rods, pipes, wires, ropes etc. depending on how the user chooses to implement the system in their environment. This modular system will allow the user to construct their own arrays of units, with their own resources, to shape and better their noise environment.
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