Public and Industrial Research in Building Acoustics

Sound insulation of stud walls
© Fraunhofer IBP
Improvement of the sound insulation of stud walls by a periodic grid of small area additional masses

With research and development, we create the conditions for technical progress and economic success

Technical progress is also advancing in the construction industry. Today’s modern buildings bear little resemblance to the classical construction methods that were common thirty years ago. This applies to building materials and systems as well as to building technology.

This change presents manufacturers and construction companies with a double challenge. On the one hand, they must constantly improve their products and develop new technologies in order to remain competitive and fit for the future. On the other hand, the use of new products often leads to unforeseen problems in other areas of building physics that have to be analyzed and remedied.

For example, composite thermal insulation systems (ETICS) can considerably impair the sound insulation of a façade if they are not designed correctly from the aspect of acoustics. The same applies - albeit to a lesser extent - to modern triple glazing, which are now found in most new buildings. Products such as sealing and installation foams and laminate underlays, which are often advertised by manufacturers for soundproofing, are almost ineffective in many cases as far as acoustics is concerned.

These examples, which are but a few, show that there is still a great need for research and development in building acoustics. As this requires not only extensive technical know-how but also cost-intensive structural and technical resources, e.g. for test laboratories and measuring equipment, many customers turn to Fraunhofer IBP for support. We have all the necessary prerequisites at our disposal.

In our research and development activities, we usually distinguish between two types of projects:

  • Publicly-funded research projects, which usually deal with matters that are of general interest and concern all types of products. These include, for example, the development of acoustic prediction methods or the investigation of problem areas in building acoustics. The results of these projects are freely available to interested parties.
  • Industrial projects, where the results are exclusively reserved for the customer. These projects mostly deal with optimizing acoustics or developing new building products.

In recent years, our experts have carried out a large number of projects of both types. Some examples are:

  • Acoustic optimization of insulation systems (ETICS and internal insulation), including the development of corresponding calculation methods
  • Improvement of airborne and impact sound insulation of multi-layer lightweight structures (walls and ceilings) at low frequencies
  • Development of improved structures to reduce the transmission of structure-borne noise from technical  building installations
  • Innovative techniques for active structural sound insulation (e.g. active structure-borne sound insulation and acoustic window control)