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How to Keep Your Car Soundproof in 2023

sound deadening mats

There are a few key reasons why it’s important to soundproof your car:

Reduce road, engine, and wind noise for a more comfortable, quiet ride. Loud noises are distracting and tiring over long drives.

Improve audio quality when listening to music or phone calls. Deadened surfaces don’t vibrate and interfere with sound.

Increase safety by allowing easier conversation and focus on the road instead of loud distractions.

Preserve hearing over time by lowering continuous noise exposure inside the vehicle.

Potentially increase value and resale price with a well-soundproofed interior.

Proper application of Sound Deadening Materials is an effective way to block unwanted noise and keep your car soundproof. The following sections will explore options for materials and where to apply them.

As mentioned, sound deadening works by adding mass and dampening properties to inhibit vibrations that amplify noise inside the vehicle. When sound waves hit interior surfaces like the doors, they cause the thin metal to vibrate at specific resonant frequencies. These vibrations cause the panel to almost function like a speaker, amplifying the sound waves rather than blocking them.

If you were to tap it, it would vibrate and resonate at the frequency of the tap, amplifying the sound. Now imagine filling that same soda can with sand. The increased mass makes it much more difficult for the entire can to vibrate in the same way, so it does not resonate and amplify the sound as easily.

In a vehicle, this principle applies to things like door panels, wheel wells, and the roof lining. Without added mass, road noise and engine vibrations cause these thin barriers to resonate like a speaker would.

By applying materials like dynamic, mass loaded vinyl (MLV), or Soundproof Foam, changes the resonant frequency properties of the panel. An easy way to visualize this is to think of a low-mass sheet of metal like an empty soda can.

By applying strips of sound deadening material, it turns them into the “soda can filled with sand” rather than an empty resonating chamber. The materials absorb vibrations rather than reflecting them like an untreated panel would.

The Types of Sound Deadening Materials

The types of materials used, such as dynamite, MLV, or foam, all function using the same mass loading and damping principles. However, they differ in their exact physical properties:

Dynamat is made of asphalt and resin, giving it excellent damping qualities while also being thermally resistant. This makes it suitable for engine compartments.

MLV uses vinyl with embedded tungsten powder for very high density and broadband sound absorption. It’s better for large flat surfaces.

Foam works well for irregular curved surfaces and has benefits like easier cutability compared to stiff rolls.

All of these alter the panel’s natural frequency response curve through independent mechanisms – viscosity/damping for asphalt & resin based products and inertia for mass/MLV types. They both absorb vibration energy rather than reflecting it.

When layering materials, it’s important to choose ones with matched density/stiffness to avoid canceling out each other. Stiffer over looser layers are best. The first layer slows vibrations while subsequent ones refine the damping.

Proper application technique also matters – using full contact adhesion and avoiding air pockets/wrinkles. Overlapping seams by 1-2 inches further seals any gaps. Recessed areas need packed penetration.

Lastly, while reducing resonance helps block sound, transmission through air must be addressed too. This includes sealing body panels, conduit holes, door/trunk seams, etc. using specialized damping sealants. True soundproofing involves combining absorption and barriers.

Applying materials like dynamic, MLV, or soundproofing foam, changes the panel’s natural frequency response in a few key ways:

Damping: The asphalt or other damping compounds in these products absorb vibration energy before they can set the panel vibrating. This works across a wide range of frequencies.

Mass loading: The heavy tungsten powder or other fillers raise the panel’s natural frequency by making it harder to move and vibrate. Higher frequencies are less able to resonate.

Viscous layering: Multiple thin layers of different densities interfere destructively with each other’s vibrations rather than summing together.

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