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Can Sound Travel Through Concrete Walls?

AFTEC - Can Sound travel through concrete walls?

Are Concrete Walls Soundproof?

Concrete is a common material for outdoor concrete construction walls. Not only are concrete walls sturdy, they can provide aesthetic value as well. They are often used outside of homes, in communities, surrounding business strips, and even along highways. You have probably noticed these walls without realizing it as they have become one of the most practical solutions for noise pollution today. Concrete is an amazing material that will provide solid soundproof protection for those who need it.

How Does Sound Work?

Sound is all around us. From the humming of vehicles to the blaring of horns, traffic noise is just one of the many outdoor sounds that people want to muffle. People who live near airports, commercial businesses, and public transit deal with especially high decibel levels around the clock. Not only are all the extra noises annoying, they can also cause stress within the body. Chronic exposure to noise pollution can lead to health issues ranging from hearing damage to raised blood pressure.

Fortunately, concrete walls provide a solution. Many businesses and communities are investing in these noise barriers and finding them to make a huge difference. You may be wondering just how soundproof concrete walls are. This is an important question to answer when making your decision about what type of wall to put up as a noise barrier. To understand how concrete walls serve as a noise barrier, we must first dive into the science of sound.

Sound is energy that is produced by movement. When something makes a sound, it creates vibrations, which are energy waves moving back and forth. Sometimes the vibration may be fast and other times they may be slow. As the energy from the vibrations pushes away from the source of the object, it moves through the air and creates sound waves. These waves may be tall and close together or short and farther apart depending on the frequency of the vibration.

The sound waves move through the air similar to the way an ocean wave moves. It travels in a wave-like motion, vibrating the air until it reaches your ears, at which point you perceive the vibrations as sound. Now, although sound waves and ocean waves both use energy and look similar in the way they move, there is one important distinction. The vibration from ocean waves moves up and down while the movement continues forward. With sound waves, the vibration pushes the waves forward with the energy through a process of compression (pulling everything close together) and rarefactions (spreading everything out).

Sound waves vary in their intensity as well as their amplification, which means they may be loud or soft. If a sound wave is tall and each subsequent wave is close to it, then the sound will be louder, whereas if the waves are shorter and spread out from each other, the sound is perceived as quieter.

How Do Concrete Walls Work to Reduce Sound?

To determine how to cancel out noise, we need to understand how sound changes with varying conditions. We know a few things already about how sound works. For example, if you move away from the source of a sound, it will become quieter.

The reason for this is that sound waves lose energy as they travel through space. You also may know that sound waves need a vehicle to carry them to the receiver. Otherwise, we won’t hear the sound. Sound waves can travel through an area that has air. However, sound can also reflect off objects, bouncing off a surface and heading back into the direction they came from.



You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve ever clapped your hands in a tunnel. The sound waves you created reflected back towards you, and you heard the echo.
Finally, sound waves can also be absorbed. When sound waves collide with an object, one of three things will happen. First, there may be some reflection due to the material of the object. Secondly, a certain amount of the sound wave is transmitted; and lastly, the object absorbs part of the sound wave. When absorption occurs, the sound wave is converted into heat energy.

So, how does sound travel through concrete? Concrete walls are designed to reflect noise towards the source and absorb some of the energy from the sound wave. Most of the sound energy isn’t traveling through the wall, which is why it provides such an effective noise barrier.

Benefits of Using Concrete Walls for Soundproofing

Businesses and communities benefit greatly from concrete walls. Here are some benefits of a concrete wall for a residential area:

  • Relieves stress in the home associated with high noise levels
  • Children can play outdoors and still hear their parents calling them to come in
  • Provides a barrier between the highway and the community
  • Promotes safety
  • Blocks out the noise from a railway
  • Here are some benefits of a concrete wall for an industrial business area:
  • Encourages more business because of the peaceful atmosphere
  • Blocks the sound of loading trucks at industrial locations
  • Partitions off a mall strip or shopping plaza from a highway

In addition to these uses, concrete walls are also great for highways, animal enclosures, and golf courses. Any outdoor place that needs to be sectioned off for privacy, safety, and noise control is the perfect place for a concrete wall.

Just how soundproof is concrete? Because it acts to reflect and absorb sound waves, concrete is an effective barrier for noise. It is also known for being a durable, long-lasting material for building and civil works projects.

Contact Us

Have you been thinking about a precast concrete wall for your business, residential area, or community? Maybe you have some additional questions that you want to be answered.  AFTEC has the answers. As a worldwide leader in designing and manufacturing precast concrete walls, AFTEC is an expert and pioneer in the industry; we were first to develop vertically cast forming systems for concrete walls.

Also, we offer several attractive finish and texture styles so your concrete wall will be an asset aesthetically as well as functionally. If you would like more information about how these amazing concrete walls can benefit your residential or business community, contact AFTEC for a consultation.

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