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      Space sound absorbers with next-generation materials: additional sound absorption for post-pandemic challenges in indoor acoustic environments

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            In this study, we first point out the possible acoustic problems associated with the post-pandemic operation of built environments. Particularly, we focus on the problem of acoustic deficiency due to the lack of absorption. This deficiency, which is likely to be encountered in most enclosed spaces in a range of establishments, is due to the reduced number of audience members or users of the space as a result of social distancing. As one of the promising solutions to this problem, we introduce a sound absorption technique using three-dimensional space sound absorbers developed through our recent research projects. Significantly, the type of sound absorber propose herein is made of materials that are especially suited to hygiene considerations. The materials are microperforated panels (MPPs) and permeable membranes (PMs), both of which are easily washable and sanitised. Furthermore, we point out that three-dimensional MPP or PM space absorbers possess the additional value of aesthetic designability.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            8 September 2020
            [1 ] Environmental Acoustics Laboratory, Department of Architecture, Grad. School of Engineering, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 8 September 2020
            none N?A

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            Architectural design,Architecture,Environmental engineering
            sound absorption,microperforated panel,permeable membrane,post-pandemic 'new style',indoor acoustic environment,Built environment


            Decision date: 21/10/2020

            Handling Editor: Francesco Aletta

            The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision.

            2020-11-10 11:17 UTC
            2020-09-22 10:17 UTC

            I think this is an important and timely contribution - one aspect that could be further elaborated upon in my view is the fact that the modular elements proposed in these study offer the necessary flexibility for making different spatial arrangements in indoor contexts; they also represent a "reversible" desing solution. This is important to highlight as we don't know what future scenarios we are facing due to the constant evolution of the pandemic.

            2020-09-22 10:17 UTC
            One person recommends this

            Thank you very much for your positive comments. As you pointed out, the sound absorbers discussed here are movable, so they can be rearranged as needed. In addition, it can be easily removed when it is no longer needed. Given the difficulty of predicting how long the ‘new style’ will last, we believe that a method of controlling the sound field, without major modifications to existing buildings, can be used. In other words, it is a flexible and reversible design method. This is a concept that will be required in some form for newly designed buildings. We will try to add explanations more on these points in detail in the text in a revised version.

            Once again, many thanks for your open comment.

            K. Sakagami


            2020-09-23 04:22 UTC

            I think it is especially appreciable the fact that the authors constantly include design quality value to their overall evaluation, which from an ergonomic point of view is crucial for the user’s comfort. I particularly appreciated such discussion on the analysed systems’ aesthetic designability, which sometimes tends to be disconnected from the physical impact of it.

            2020-09-22 10:10 UTC
            3 people recommend this

            Thank you very much for the suggestive comments. As you pointed out, many aesthetically pleasing designs of sound-absorbing materials have been seen in recent years, and we believe that the overall design of the built environment should be taken into account. In our research, we have been investigating prototypes with simple shapes such as cylinders etc for ease of theoretical analysis, but in the future, we would like to consider the optimization of the shapes from an ergonomic point of view. In this paper, we have introduced a case in which we considered the case of adding a function as a lighting equipment, and we recognize that the improvement of value-added functions in addition to design is one of the future challenges.

            Once again, many thanks for your open commnent.

            K. Sakagami

            2020-09-23 04:43 UTC

            Date: 14/9/2020

            Handling Editor: Francesco Aletta

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment Preprint for open peer review.

            2020-09-17 13:33 UTC

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