Glass Partition - Acoustics & Acoustic Glass


Office partitions serve several  functions where separation of different areas improves and optimises productivity. Privacy and noise are important considerations in office layout so it is important to account for the sound insulation properties when selecting materials.


However  it is not just sound insulation that is important when considering partitioning, sound echo and reverberation can also be as if not more important, especially  when you are creating smaller rooms and where  there are 4 solid walls on all sides. Sound reflecting off solid walls and bouncing around can become a real problem, especially when people raise their voices to compensate.



Sound Insulation values


Sound is transmitted from its source as a series of pressure changes (waves). A sound is characterised by magnitude of the pressure and the rate of change of the pressure. Sound level is expressed on the decibel (dB) scale, with 0 dB being the threshold of hearing and 120 dB being the level at which paid is felt.

The factors determining the acoustic performance of glass partitioning are the glass thickness and for multiple pane systems, the pane spacing. For sealed double glazing units, gas filling of the cavity may influence acoustic performance. Increasing the mass of the glass, i.e. its thickness, increases the sound insulation. Toughened coated and wired glasses are identical in performance to standard float glass of the same thickness.


For multiple layer pane systems, the acoustic insulation is not affected by the pane spacing over the range normally found in sealed units, i.e. 6mm to 20mm. It should be noted that a sealed double glazing unit constructed of two panes of 4mm glass gives no better sound insulation than a single pane of 4mm glass.



Typical Acoustic Insulation Values


Single Glass                        Rw (dB)

4mm                                      29

6mm                                      31

10mm                                   33

6.4mm pvb laminate       32

Double  glazing 

4mm/4mm                         29

4mm/6mm                         32

6mm/6mm                         31

4mm/8mm                         33

4mm /10mm                      35


Given the above data  using toughened glass which is 10mm thick  gives the best balance between cost, strength, ease of handling and sound insulation.  It is as an important part of insulating your partition for sound  to ensure the gaps between the glass and framing around it are sound insulated as sound insulation properties of the glass itself.  It is important to ensure that the perimeter of the glass has a tight rubber seal which holds the glass firmly and does not allow it to vibrate, but instead absorbs and sound vibrations, thus acting as a sound damper.


Use of Soft Furnishings and Fabric wall panels


Soft furnishings such as carpet and curtains play very important role in absorbing sound energy, but in many contemporary offices these are absent. As a substitute for these fabric wall panels are an excellent solution and make an attractive contribution to the office environment at the same time.


Acoustic panels are made from a highly absorptive semi-rigid core with a high quality digitally printed fabric face. A unique technology (called dye sublimation) is used to print the fabric face which allows sound waves to pass through the fabric (instead of bouncing off it). The sound waves are then absorbed by the inner panel core.