What is Vibration Isolation?
Vibration Isolation decouples a vibrating machine from the structure it is mounted to or sitting on. Think of an air compressor on concrete—if we put rubber mounts under it, we would isolate the machine from the floor. This reduces the noise emitted by the physical action of the machine vibrating against the floor. Vibration Isolation is important in many types of areas such as Commercial Spaces, residential, and industrial just to name a few.
What is Vibration Isolation?
Vibration Isolation is physically decoupling a vibrating unit from another substrate, either by passive or active isolation. This reduces unwanted airborne noise or vibrating from entering another space/substrate.
A motor or other rotational machine, or something that oscillates can produce vibration energy. To combat this, you could use a passive isolation method of putting something like rubber mounts under it, or any one of other types of methods, including springs, air isolators, or linkages to name a few.
Why is Vibration Isolation Important?
There are many examples of unwanted sound or vibration getting into where others will hear it or feel it. Think apartment or condo buildings where the HVAC units on the roof are disturbing the residents, or a business office or retail space for that matter. All these examples have a component of lost sales, time, work, and residents due to the noises made from a vibrating source—as they say time is money. In most any instance noise from vibrations is not meant to be heard. The system should be properly engineered when built, or retrofit when found to have a problem to lessen the noises made from vibrational energy.
Examples of Vibration Isolation
Below we will discuss some of the common examples of vibrational sound and how to approach solving the problem.
First, we will look at a machine that is enclosed in a metal cabinet. As this machine moves it causes vibrations to emit from the machine to the stand/floor of the enclosure. This causes the walls/ceilings of the enclosure to move and vibrate, and in turn causes what can be called a metal ringing sound. There are a couple of ways to deal with this. First, we would want to isolate the machine from the enclosure itself with springs, mats, or some other means of decoupling as a way to break the physical connection from the machine and the stand/floor. This depends on the machine and the stand or the way it connects to the floor. Second, we would want to weigh down the thinner metal of the cabinet. It could be built with stronger, more expensive metal or it could be weighed down with a product like VibStop or Antivibe which could be retrofitted. Antivibe is a liquid that is sprayed onto the surface of the metal, and once dry, can be painted. VibStop however is a sheet good that can be applied directly to the surface of metal, wood, fiberglass, and plastic surfaces to help stop the materials from vibrating.
Second, what if the machine that’s vibrating is sitting on a concrete floor? That could be leading to the machine’s metal feet or body touching the floor and bouncing/vibrating around. We would want to decouple the machine from the floor. Depending on the size of the machine and nature of its use, you may use a mat under it. This would be movable in case you needed it to be and would work well for something small such as an air compressor. If the machine is too heavy for a mat, it may need a frame built and then springs put inside of the frame to suspend the machine, or from the frame to the floor—this depends on the unit and nature of use.
Tips and Reminders for Vibration Isolation
If you find yourself dealing with a vibrating item:
- First, find out what is vibrating.
- Then access how it is vibrating.
- Choose the correct material/method for the type of vibrating.
- Implement the material/fix.
- Re-assess the noise issue after implementation of the fix to see if anything else is required.
Vibration isolation comes in many forms and is geared towards the type of problem you have. Once you understand the problem, you can develop a solution made for your problem. If you are interested in stopping vibration from coming through a wall/ceiling/floor, consider reading Vibration Control.
To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.