The National Fire Protection Association has established standards that establish fire safety ratings that apply to many types of products. Section 6-5.3 of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code entitled “Interior Wall and Ceiling Finish Classification” establishes the rating metrics applicable to sound insulation products designed for surface mounting to a wall or ceiling. The products are tested in fire chambers and evaluated based on the spread of the flame and the amount of smoke produced. In public areas such as schools, restaurants and churches, Melamine Foam treatments that meet the highest fire resistance standard, approved as Class A, are appropriate. A Class A fire rating is assigned to surfaces with a flame spread of 0 to 25 and smoke density ranging from 0 to 450.
Like many other products, acoustic treatments intended for use in public areas must meet specific requirements to protect public safety. Melamine foam and fiberglass treatments are popular for use in public places due to their sound deadening effectiveness as well as their Class A fire rating. For example, fiberglass baffles are effective for sound absorption and meet NFPA Class A fire rating standards.
Anyone performing soundproofing in a public facility must consider the fire classification of the products to be used. Even products labeled as “fire retardant” do not necessarily meet the standards to be classified as Class A. Some products are effective for soundproofing but do not have a Class A fire rating like polyurethane foam treatments do. With a flame spread rating of 375 and a smoke density rating of 140, polyurethane foam products are not suitable for use in public areas that require an A fire rating.
Although soundproofing products designed to improve acoustics in public buildings must take fire ratings into account, all soundproofing projects have special circumstances to consider. For example, polyurethane foam products, while unsuitable for use in areas of intense heat or flame, remain an excellent soundproofing option for residential applications. Polyurethane foam is an economical solution for use in areas such as private studios or drum booths. Due to the highly individual soundproofing requirements, it is recommended that you contact a soundproofing specialist who can advise you based on your individual application.
REVIEW OF ACOUSTIC SOUND ABSORPTION MATERIAL – MELAMINE FOAM
Have you ever wondered what sound absorption materials are used in acoustic sound absorption panels? There are a variety of materials that manufacturers use. But which ones work best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different materials.
One of the methods manufacturers use is fiberglass insulation. While fiberglass is good at absorbing sound, it flattens out over time, compromising its effectiveness. Fiberglass is made with ingredients and machinery that can harm your body in a variety of ways. Not only does fiberglass insulation use more energy to manufacture than other materials, but most conventional insulation contains formaldehyde and can emit hazardous gases.
Another method of absorbing sound is Melamine Foam. Many types of foam are used in vinyl records. The key to absorbing sound waves is open-cell (soft) foam. Polyurethane and melamine are the two most popular types of foam used to make panels. The question has been raised by many consumers, “How can I tell the difference between them?” This is a very good question. The question of whether the manufacturers are using the foam they claim to be using has been raised many times. The idea that some manufacturers would buy savings foam and use it for a larger profit margin has been raised more than a few times.
Another problem with foam is its relatively short lifespan. From the point at which the foam is produced, an oxidation process begins, in which white foam turns yellow relatively quickly. It is well known in the foam industry that this is why most foams are now colored (usually dark grey). This doesn’t solve the oxidation problem… it just masks it. Foam flattens out after a relatively short time and begins to disintegrate. A good example of this is that most headliner fabrics were foam lam in the 1980’s were inated. The headliner would “sag” as the foam dissipated.
Mineral wool, also known as rock wool, is another material man-made using fibers made from natural or synthetic materials, including fiberglass, ceramic fibers, and rock or rock wool. These ingredients can be absorbed into the body through inhalation. It can also irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. Prolonged exposure can lead to serious health problems.
Cotton blend fiber is another method that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The natural fibers used to make cotton fiber are 100% recyclable. It requires minimal energy to produce and is Class A fireproof. There are no chemicals that cause irritation and pose no health risk. Physical properties are also rated highly. In addition to a Class A fire rating, it is also corrosion, fungus, bacteria and moisture resistant and has excellent ability to absorb sound waves.
All of the aforementioned materials absorb excess sound waves. In general, some materials are good short-term solutions while others are long-term solutions. Some materials pose a health hazard, others are environmentally and user friendly.