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Classification of Noise Reduction Silencers

Eliminating noise with reactive silencers - diffuser type silencers - active silencers and/or
dissipative silencers
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The purpose of a duct silencer is to reduce the noise inside air-handling systems caused by
the

 fan
 passage of air through straight ducts
 impact of air flowing through components such as elbows, branches, mixing boxes etc.

DIL - Dynamic Insertion Loss

The Dynamic Insertion Loss - DIL - is the difference between the sound power or intensity
levels measured in the same point of the duct work before and after the insertion of the
silencer. The insertion loss depends on the flow - if its forward or reverse. The flow is forward
if air flows in the same direction as the propagation of sound.

SN - Self Noise

The Self Noise - SN - is the noise power level in decibels generated by the silencer when
inserted in the air flow. The Self Noise depends on the direction of the flow - if its forward or
reverse.

Absorptive or Dissipative Silencers

Absorptive or dissipative silencers use sound absorbing materials to attenuate sound waves.

Dissipative silencers are widely used in HVAC duct systems. Typical dissipative silencers are
configured in a parallel baffle arrangement.

The thickness of acoustical linings or baffles should be selected with reference to the
predominant frequency of the noise. The incident sound energy is partially transformed to
heat by causing motion in the fibers during its passage through the material. Absorptive
silencers include lined duct attenuators, packaged cylindrical and rectangular attenuators,
acoustic louvers and lined plenum chambers.

Typical DIL - Dynamic Insertion Losses - with absorptive silencers are indicated in the table
and diagram below

Frequency (Hz)
Diameter Length
(inches) (inches)
125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000

4 24 8 14 26 34 41 45 25

5 24 6 12 22 28 37 38 22

6 24 5 10 18 23 33 30 19

8 24 4 9 17 22 29 25 18

10 36 6 11 21 27 39 25 19

12 36 5 9 18 23 32 20 18

16 36 5 8 11 23 19 17 15
Diffuser or Depressive Silencers

Diffuser type silencers have perforated pepper pots to slow down flow velocity and prevent the generation of
low frequency noise and are mainly used for applications involving nozzles, control valves, jet engines etc.

The total pressure drop is divided in several stages across the nozzle, the valve and the diffuser. This allows a
better pressure ratio between upstream and downstream and reduces the noise level.

Reflective or Reactive silencers

The primary function of a reactive silencer is to reflect sound waves back to the source.
Energy is dissipated in the extended flow path resulting from internal reflections and by
absorption at the source. The operation principle of the reactive silencers is a combination of
lambda/4- and Helmholtz-resonators acting as acoustic filters. Reactive silencers have tuned
cavities or membranes and are designed to attenuate low frequency noise from machines.

The reactive silencer may have excellent low frequency performance, is non-fibrous and
cleanable and has small or negligible pressure loss. The simplest kind of a reactive muffler is
the expansion chamber. In general reactive silencers are used for fixed speed machinery
producing pure tones. The reactive silencer is suitable for engines requiring very low exhaust
system back pressures for a maximum engine performance.

Reactive silencers are rarely used in HVAC systems.


Diffuser or Depressive Silencers

Diffuser type silencers have perforated pepper pots to slow down flow velocity and prevent
the generation of low frequency noise and are mainly used for applications involving nozzles,
control valves, jet engines etc.

The total pressure drop is divided in several stages across the nozzle, the valve and the
diffuser. This allows a better pressure ratio between upstream and downstream and reduces
the noise level.

Active Silencers

Active noise control is sound field modification, particularly sound field cancellation, by
electro-acoustical means. Active silencers use microphones and electronics to determine and
attenuate noise.

In its simplest form, a control system drives a speaker to produce a sound field that is an
exact mirror-image the offending sound (the "disturbance"). The speaker thus "cancels" the
disturbance, and the net result is no sound at all. Such silencers can be effective at low
frequencies under 300 Hz.

Active noise control is best suited for applications with relatively steady noise fields - like
fans, engines or similar. Active silencers are not suitable for broadband noise reduction.

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