UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving the sound absorption of cross-laminated timber panels using resonant absorbent layer Logawa, Banda


Developed in the mid-1990s in Austria and Germany, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is an innovative wood product known for its strength in both orthogonal directions, and its dimensional stability, making it a sustainable alternative to concrete slabs. CLT is created through the cross-lamination process, which glues together odd number of layers of wood planks placed in orthogonally alternating directions. With the growing interest in the application of CLT in North America, numerous studies has been conducted to characterize the acoustical properties of CLT panels. However, most of them focused on the sound-transmission aspect of CLT, very few on the sound absorption. This thesis will explore the sound-absorption characteristics of CLT, the effect on overall room-acoustical conditions, the utilization of resonant sound-absorbing layers on CLT to make it more sound-absorptive, and proposed solutions to improve this performance aspect. To demonstrate the low sound absorption and poor acoustical conditions in rooms with exposed and untreated CLT panels, several in-situ reverberation-time (RT) measurements were conducted in multiple buildings in British Columbia. Average sound-absorption coefficients and estimated Speech Intelligibility Indices (SII) were calculated as baseline performance measures for this study. Based on the results from five different buildings, involving 8 rooms configurations, average sound-absorption coefficients for exposed CLT panels are approximately between 0.02 to 0.13, resulting in barely acceptable conditions for verbal communication. To optimize the sound-absorption characteristics of prototype CLT panels, a transfer-matrix model has been developed to predict the performance of multi-layered CLT panels. This theoretical model was then validated by using three different sound-absorption measurement methods (impedance tube, spherical decoupling, and reverberation chamber) for multiple HR array configurations. After identifying the important parameters of an HR system and their effects on performance, a final prototype configuration with Helmholtz Resonator Array was then created with the goal of improving the room- acoustical performance of CLT, as well as responding to input from the CLT manufacturers and experts. Both the theoretical and experimental results confirmed that the proposed solution has the required sound-absorption performance and achieves all research objectives.

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