Design Solutions - Spring 2020 - 49

There are many variants
of acoustic woods such as
sound reflectors, diffusers
and absorbers. When you
walk into a performance
auditorium, you are likely
to see reflectors suspended
from the ceiling and angular
or curved reflective walls.
These surfaces are serving an
acoustic function by evenly
distributing soundwaves
throughout the room. Many
times, these surfaces are
veneered wood with either
flat, radiused or multiradiused surface shaping.
Each have a specific acoustic
characteristic.
materials behind or above.
This is usually fiberglass or
rockwool board with densities
in the 3-6 pound per cubic
foot range.
Acoustically absorptive
refers to a material's
'structure' by taking in sound

Another class of acoustic
wood are diffusive materials.
These engineered materials
scatter soundwaves in
specific patterns. Onedimensional diffusers scatter
sound energy in either a
horizontal or vertical direction
depending on how they are
mounted. Two-dimensional
diffusers scatter sound
energy in a hemispherical
pattern which is useful in
overhead applications and in
some wall applications.

energy when sound waves
are encountered. Part of
the energy is reflected, part
is transformed into heat
through air particle friction,
and part is transmitted
through the material (see
figure 1).

ACOUSTIC WOOD
ABSORBERS

This article concentrates
on acoustic wood absorbers.
Within this category are
several commonly used
materials -- perforated,
microperforated, grooved,
grilles and wood wool to
name a few. Each have their
place in acoustic design,
but it is wise to understand
the differences in their
acoustic characteristics.
It should be noted that a
majority of the acoustic wood
available requires the use
of supplemental absorptive

FIGURE 1

spring 2020

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Design Solutions - Spring 2020

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