Concept

Absorption (acoustics)

Summary
Acoustic absorption refers to the process by which a material, structure, or object takes in sound energy when sound waves are encountered, as opposed to reflecting the energy. Part of the absorbed energy is transformed into heat and part is transmitted through the absorbing body. The energy transformed into heat is said to have been 'lost'. When sound from a loudspeaker collides with the walls of a room part of the sound's energy is reflected, part is transmitted, and part is absorbed into the walls. Just as the acoustic energy was transmitted through the air as pressure differentials (or deformations), the acoustic energy travels through the material which makes up the wall in the same manner. Deformation causes mechanical losses via conversion of part of the sound energy into heat, resulting in acoustic attenuation, mostly due to the wall's viscosity. Similar attenuation mechanisms apply for the air and any other medium through which sound travels. The fraction of sound absorbed i
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