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Acoustical Ceiling Tiles: What is an Absorption Coefficient?

An office with wood flooring.

If you’re new in the market of buying acoustic ceiling tiles for your home or business, you might not know what to look for. As you do some research, the term “absorption coefficient” is bound to come up again and again. Unless you’re a physicist, an absorption coefficient might sound daunting. And yet, understanding this concept will help you make more informed purchases of soundproofing materials, including acoustic ceiling tiles. 

Let’s explain what an absorption coefficient is in simple terms so you can find the best product for your needs.

Simplifying a Complex Concept

At its core, an absorption coefficient (or AC for short) is a metric for determining how well a material absorbs energy (such as sound waves). The measurement goes from 0 to 1, so it’s a simple scale. Something with an absorption coefficient of 0 does not absorb or transmit any energy at all – rather, it reflects 100% of the energy that comes into contact with it (think about a room that echoes). Conversely, an AC of 1 will fully absorb or transmit energy. Anything with a coefficient of .75 or higher is considered an effective absorber.

There are complex equations that can be applied to different types of energy and whole books about absorption coefficients, but this is the quick and easy explanation. Now, when it comes to sound, what exactly is meant by absorption coefficient? 

What is The Absorption Coefficient of an Acoustic Material?

For our purposes, the energy we’re looking to absorb is sound. Though an absorption coefficient is a scientific measurement, it also functions well as a rating for how soundproof a material is. To summarize: when looking for acoustic ceiling tiles, you want a number closer to 1 than 0. Ideally, something with an AC of over .75 will absorb much of the sound you’re looking to dampen. Materials that are designed for absorption are tested for the absorption coefficient once they’re produced, so you can be assured the standards used for these measurements are universal and unbiased.

Why Acoustic Ceiling Tiles?

Whether you’ve got an echoey office space or a busy retail environment with a lot of chatter and ambient noise, acoustic ceiling tiles can help keep your space quiet and distraction-free. Even if you’ve just discovered a room in your new home that can’t host a conversation or a drum kit, acoustic ceiling tiles are for you.

At Ozburn-Hessey, we only work with the best manufacturers to ensure our acoustical ceiling tiles exceed your expectations. If you have a need for acoustic ceiling tiles in and around Nashville, TN, we’ve got you covered. Materials go a long way, but installation is crucial for getting the best absorption coefficient from your acoustic ceiling tiles. While the absorption coefficient is easy enough to explain at the most basic level, we’re still dealing with complex concepts. When precision matters, an Ozburn-Hessey install is always going to impress.

Now that you’ve got the fundamentals of the absorption coefficient as it relates to acoustical ceiling tiles, you’re probably wondering how the installation process goes. We’ve got you covered there, too. Work with Ozburn-Hessey for a professional acoustic ceiling tile assessment, product selection, and installation with your newfound knowledge of the absorption coefficient.

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