Sound absorbing materials are used in buildings to dissipate sound energy into heat using viscous and thermal processes. Sound absorbers increase the transmission loss of walls, decrease the reverberation time of rooms, and attenuate the noise generated by internal sound sources. Porous absorbers (fibrous, cellular, or granular) are the most used materials in noise control applications because of their high performance-to-cost ratio in the frequency band of interest. However, when cleaning conditions and health reasons are of concern, microperforated panel (MPP) absorbers may be the preferred choice. MPPs, consisting of many minute (sub-millimetric) holes in a panel, are tunable absorbers in a prescribed frequency band, whose main shortcomings are high manufacturing cost and limited absorption frequency band. Currently, the production cost of MPPs can be drastically reduced by means of modern techniques. The absorption frequency band can be considerably enlarged by designing multiple-layer MPPs (ML-MPPs). The aim of this article is to review the high potential of ML-MPPs as a modern, clean, and healthy alternative to porous materials for sound absorption.
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