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The Future of Soundproofing

Simply by replacing ordinary screws with a special spring-loaded screw results in a sound reduction of nine decibels.

Soundproofing generally requires thicker walls or special insulation. What if there was a simpler, leaner solution? That's what Håkan Wernersson at Malmö University believes, courtesy of the screw he has created that can halve the perceived sound level of any building.

“With our screw, you can mount plasterboard directly to the walls, freeing up floor space, and a square metre of floor space can be worth thousands,” he says, having developed the screw in collaboration with an acoustician. Wernersson says you simply replace the ordinary screws in your building design with this special screw to get all the benefits of reduced noise pollution.So, what's so clever about this screw?

It works simply by limiting the transmission of the vibrations into the drywall. The screw, which is split in the middle with a spring placed inside, breaks sound waves. The screw tip goes into the wooden joist, the head keeps the plasterboard in place, and a thin robust mechanical coupling is established between them to prevent sound waves from advancing, reports Intersting Engineering. As a result, people in a room equipped with the special screw hear less of the noise. “The dynamic causes the soundwaves to be dampened,” explained Wernersson.

It has been tested in sound labs in England, Denmark and Sweden, and shows a sound reduction of nine decibels for a traditional drywall. The screw is not yet on the market, but is eagerly anticipated. It's certainly a much simpler solution to a touted 'soundscape' device featured by OGN last year in A Quieter Life, where a window mounted device uses a microphone to detect incoming noises and an array of 24 small speakers to cancel out the incoming sound waves. The researchers tested the device with simulated city noises, like airplane engines, and found that the device offered a 10dB reduction in the sound pressure level, meaning about half the noise level reached the indoors.


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