Does Plastic Absorb or Reflect Sound? Is it Soundproof! Why?

does plastic absorb or reflect sound

If you have any confusion about the acoustic absorption of any plastic, you can continue this blog to know the exact answer.

If you are thinking of implementing any soundproof plastic to your home for soundproofing, you should be clear about the ability of this material for absorbing or reflecting any sound.

Now, you may search on the internet for the answer about whether any plastic material can absorb or reflect sound?

I think you have come to the right place for knowing the right answer. So you should continue reading to know the real answer with details.

If you don’t know about this material, you need to read it first.

What is Plastic and How it is Made From

The main ingredients (structural materials) of plastic are polymers (bonded atoms with long chains) and the shape of this material is changeable.

This material is divided into two groups. Pure and composite plastic material. They are made from oil, gas, plants, etc., and refined to propane and ethane.

After applying a cracking system (high heat), they converted it into ethylene and propylene. These elements are melted and converted into pipes.

After these pipes are cut into pellets. These plastic granulators are considered raw materials of plastic.

Different types of industries collect these plastic pellets and convert them to the desired shape as required.

Do Plastic Sheets Absorb or Reflect Sound?

This is the main part of this blog and here I will try to tell you about this material which is soundproof or not.
You may have a question: is any plastic soundproof?

There are different types of plastics (polymers) available. All are not soundproof.

Normally noise is absorbed in irregular surfaces where most of the polymers have a plain surface (flat sheet). Besides, it has no porous nature (absorbent materials).

So the noise (sound) absorption/reduction coefficient of plastic is below 0.75. This is the reason why all plastics are not absorptive materials. Hard structure types of polymers may reflect some noises (change noise directions).

Basically amorphous type polymers have sound absorption properties. [source, Book: Introduction to Plastics Engineering (3.12.1 Sound Absorption), Author: Anshuman Shrivastava who received a Ph.D. in the field of plastic engineering.]

Examples of amorphous polymers (thermoplastics) are polystyrene, polyetherimide, ABS, polysulfone, polycarbonate, etc.

acrylic soundproof plastic

An example of this type of material is an acrylic plastic sheet which is also used to reduce external (traffic) noise. On the other hand, the structural property of Styrofoam plastic is not the same as common hard type polymers (denser materials).

This type of styrofoam can absorb some sound energy and convert it to heat. So styrofoams (porous absorbers) are also used for making any area silent.

Besides, there is another type of reinforced plastic material (flat fiberglass sheets or glass wool) but the main component of this material is glass.

The plastic which is below 10 millimeters in thickness, can’t reflect fluid noise or any sound.

You can use this sheet to soundproof your window. But the point is: You need to collect a specific type of soundproofing plastic material for your home.

You should keep knowledge about this accessory which have enough ability to stop the sound (noise) properly. On the other hand, soft plastic can absorb some frequencies of noise and Puget sound.

An example of soft polymers is MLV. So continue reading and read the specific accessories for keeping your room silent.

Some Soundproof Plastic Accessories

Now I will give some information about the different types of polymers and their use in our society for sound attenuation in specific areas.

1. Soundproof Plastic Film

This type of film is made from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Many industries make this type of film which is healthy and environmentally supported. This is the reason why it is used in the window glass for soundproofing the window.

2. Mass Loaded Vinyl

soft and rubber type plastic (MLV)

It is also one kind of polymer that contains polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The short name of this vinyl is MLV. It is very effective for soundproofing a floor, wall, and ceiling.

It has a heavy dense insulation material that can directly stop the transmission of sound. It also can absorb air noise (frequency of sound waves).

It can also stop impact noise (sound) and damping sound. So I think, if you are interested in applying in your home, you can use this reliable MLV (mass-loaded vinyl).

3. Plastic Acoustic Panel or Mat

This type of polymer contains macromolecule material. Many industries are making this panel for soundproofing purposes. This acoustic mat is also popular in soundproofing floors too.

Besides, you can use it on any suitable surface which needs insulation.

4. Styrofoams (Acoustic Foam Panels)

Another type of anechoic plastic foam is also useful for making any area silent. The name of this material is polystyrene. It is also called styrofoam.

Many industries make soundproofing accessories by using styrofoam. This type of material is used in soundproofing a room.

5. Acrylic Plastic

Acrylic is one type of polymer that is used in replacing the normal glass. Acrylic is more durable than other glass. It is also soundproof too.

This is the reason why some industries are making acrylic glass for keeping the room more soundproof.

Now, this type of glass is becoming popular day by day. You can also use it in your workplace too.

6. LDPE: Bubble Wrap

LDPE means Low-Density Polyethylene which is also another type of polymer (flexible materials). It is used in making bubble wrap.

This bubble wrap is used in the silent movement of any heavy or metal product. You can also use it in your home place to make it less noisy.

7. Plastic Sound Insulation Felt

This is another type of high polymer that stops the noise wave. The name of this soundproof accessory is plastic insulation felt.

You can use it on a plain surface for soundproofing a ceiling, floor, wall, ceiling, etc.
Because of its high-density polymer, it is more durable than other acoustic wall panels (foam type) or mattes.

Many peoples are using this type of felt for removing the irritating noise from their environment.

Sound Dampening Property

Do you know about the term sound dampening? If you are not familiar with this term, you don’t need to be upset.

Now I am telling in a small brief about what the noise dampening is? The main function of noise dampening is to weaken the wave of sound vibration.

This is the reason why the material which has elastic properties, acoustic properties, and noise dampening capacity, can stop the transfer of sound (noise) easily.

Not all types of simple polymers have the capability of noise dampening. But some specific polymers can stop unwanted sounds. One example is Mass loaded vinyl sheet (MLV). This sheet has a high sound dampening capacity.

This is the reason why MLV is used in the floor section for reducing the sound vibration of footsteps and other noise sources.

What is the Soundproof Plastic Sheet?

Remember, all polymers (single or double layer) are not soundproof. For this reason, some industries are making specific thicknesses of plastic plates for insulation purposes.

There may be different soundproofing sheets that are used in different locations. These sheets may be of different thicknesses (high to low).

Of Course, high thickness plastic sheets have more noise insulation capability than other low thickness sheets.

What is Soundproof Clear Plastic?

Normally it is made from Polycarbonate (polymethylmethacrylate or PMMA). This type of material is like transparent or clear glass.

Various thickness of this transparent plastic (material) is available in the marketplace. This clear sheet is used in replacing window glass and other decorative purposes.

It also has noise insulation capacity. This is the reason why this type of polymer is used in our social area in replacing normal glass.

My Viewpoint

From An overall viewpoint, I think you can understand the noise insulation capability of this material.

I have also tried to introduce some elastic accessories which can stop the speed of sound waves. I have also explained the different materials of different plastics so that you can easily understand them.

Some polymers are used as thermal insulators in the area of electric outlets. If you read this full blog, you will also be able to collect the right acoustic-type plastic accessories.

After collecting any acoustic accessories, you should know the guidelines for implementing those accessories.

This is the reason why you need to know more information for applying any acoustic element.
If you are not interested in this material, you can choose other soundproof accessories.

Note: polystyrene and PVC may be considered dangerous polymers. So you should not use direct polymers which include these materials.

Only use the polymer products which are produced by the industries that follow the health guidelines. You should also check health safety before collecting any accessories.

FAQ: Is Plastic Material Soundproof

Are Plastics a Better Sound-Absorbing or Reflecting Materials?

The reflection of the sound depends on the thickness of the sheet. If the thickness is higher, the capacity of that material is higher to stop more noise.

Such as, plastic film is a low thickness material and has low noise proofing capacity. On the other hand, plastic sheets are a high thickness material which is better than that film.

Does Plastic Help with Soundproofing any Material?

Yes, it helps to remove noise levels (decibel or dB sound) from a place. If you use soundproof plastic to the window and another side, you can also be able to reduce air-transmitted sound.

But you should also follow the proper guidelines for implementing this material.

Does PVC Plastic Absorb Sound?

You know that noise can be absorbed in soft and irregular surfaces. On the other hand, noise reflects on hard and plain surfaces.

Normally hard PVC (solid materials) doesn’t absorb noise but flexible PVC may absorb some noise.

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