Dynamics of vacuum-sealed, double-leaf partitions
The goal of this research is to investigate the feasibility and potential effectiveness of using vacuum-sealed, double-leaf partitions for applications in noise control. Substantial work has been done previously on double-leaf partitions where the acoustics of the inner chamber and mechanical vibrations of structural supports are passively and actively controlled. The work presented here is unique in that the proposed system aims to eliminate the need for active acoustic control of transmitted acoustic energy by removing all the air between the two panels of the double partition. Therefore, the only remaining energy paths would be along the boundary and at the points where there are intermediate structural supports connecting the two panels. The eventual goal of the research is to develop a high-loss double-leaf partition that simplifies active control by removing the need for control of the air cavity and channeling all the energy into discrete structural paths. The work presented here is a first step towards the goal of designing a high-loss, actively-controlled double-leaf partition with an air-evacuated inner chamber. One experiment is conducted to investigate the effects of various levels of vacuum on the response of a double-leaf partition whose panels are mechanically coupled only at the boundary. Another experiment is conducted which investigates the effect of changing the stiffness of an intermediate support coupling the two panels of a double-leaf partition in which a vacuum has been applied to the inner cavity. The available equipment was able to maintain a 99% vacuum between the panels. Both experiments are accompanied by analytical models used to investigate the importance of various dynamic parameters. Results show that the vacuum-sealed system shows some potential for increased transmission loss, primarily by the changing the natural frequencies of the double-leaf partition.