The Significant Uses of Foam for Vibration DampeningJuly 14, 2015
Mechanical vibrations are interpreted in the engineering domain as a type of energy transmission. Force travels through a solid object and causes mechanical losses, a forfeiture of energy that’s experienced as high and low frequency vibrations. Foam polymers are the natural adversary of these discordant oscillations. The fitting of custom-cut sections of synthetic foam rubber at strategic locations within a system will isolate or attenuate unwanted energy emanations, resulting in a smoothing action or even a restoration of an object to its natural rest state. From common running shoes to elaborate acoustic studios, foam polymers eliminate vibrations and restore system equanimity. Let’s take this opportunity to evaluate other diverse applications of foam.
1. Vibration Equalising Within Vehicles
Passengers are a justifiably fussy group. They want a smooth ride and some peace and quiet when on the road. That’s a tough proposition considering the numerous sources of vibration that infiltrate a typical vehicle. Rely on foam polymers when combating the propagation of airborne noise and the distribution of engine generated vibrations. The foam conforms to the eccentric shapes found in engine compartments and compresses efficiently within door cavities. If that’s not enough, foam rubbers are installed alongside metal springs as powerful car seat vibration attenuators.
2. Compartment-sized Transportation
Driving a car or truck comes with foam rubber engine baffling and comfy seats filled with foam, but what about bigger transport options? Large commercial aircraft and railway carriages use sprung flooring equipped with foam rubber composites. These materials are sandwiched between the floor and the framework of the prime mover, thus delivering a floating cushion of vibration isolation. Different foam densities account for alternating energy transfer components, thus removing the high-frequency hum of electronic circuitry and the lower frequency of resonant mechanical parts, smoothing the journey so that a tired commuter can take a nap.
3. Audio Studios and Theatres
Closed cell foam sheets provide advanced sound isolation features when fitted in wall cavities, doubling up in purpose by improving the thermal insulation of the enclosure. Rather than depending on custom-shaped sections, these rolls of material unpack as wide cross-sectional sheets of foam rubber. They form a cage around a studio or movie theatre, creating a sound and vibration-proof zone where the interior environment is acoustically neutral. Adhesive strips fit the foam sheets to metal wall panels, eliminating air bubbles and underscoring the gas isolation characteristics of the closed-cell foam’s structure.
If we could take a phantom-like voyage through modern edifices, we’d see structural-class foam polymers compressed and installed as part of civil engineering projects. Classed as capable of defeating seismic forces and the high-impact traffic that passes across bridges and our tallest buildings, these foam materials dampen the hard edges of modern living. Compare the monumental scale of these applications against human-sized applications, the rubber foam inserts that absorb the brunt of physical activity when added as a composite material above the sole of high-quality sports footwear. Capable of attenuating vibration on any level, ethereal studio sound to high-impact industrial shock, foam dampens energy transmissions through physical mediums.
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