Acoustic is the science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound, and infrasound. The study of acoustics generally revolves around the generation, propagation, and reception of mechanical waves and vibrations. Acoustic materials are widely used in modern day construction primarily to minimize the intensity of sound emitted. For instance, buildings are insulated with acoustic materials from inside to reduce the noise intensity of the vehicles outside. Acoustic materials are also used in manufacturing industries to lower the sound level of machines and vibrations in order to maintain the safety of workers operating on the shop floor. Furthermore, acoustic materials are capable of offering superior fire resistance along with noise absorption properties.
The global acoustic materials market has been expanding due to the expansion of the construction industry. This is anticipated to be a prime factor fuelling the demand for acoustic materials. The construction industry has undergone steady recovery following the global economic slowdown in 2008 to 2009 and has experienced sustained growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Demand for residential construction has exhibited a steady upward curve since the last few years due to the rising disposable income of consumers in developing regions. The quickening pace of immigration into major cities across the world has also added to the rising need for new residential construction. Commercial construction is also likely to expand in the near future due to the increasing number of corporate institutions and rising demand for entertainment and shopping units such as malls and theaters.
Growth in population, increase in rate of urbanization, and expansion in the construction and manufacturing sector output are the major factors driving the acoustic materials market. Growth in the commercial building sector, particularly in emerging economies such as China and India, is a key factor for market growth. Developed regions such as Europe and North America have implemented regulations to promote the effective use of green building materials. Countries such as China and India are also promoting the use of green materials. In Andhra Pradesh (India), the state government implemented the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). Under the ECBC code, commercial and public buildings in the region are expected to cut significant cost and reduce energy usage by about 40% through the effective use of green building materials. Such stringent initiatives and noise reduction regulations in the manufacturing sector are estimated to open up opportunities for the acoustic materials market in the near future.
Based on type, the acoustic materials market can be segmented into absorbers, diffusers, barriers, and isolators. Absorbers, typically, are porous; they redirect sound, causing it to lose energy. Fiberglass, rock wool, open cell polyurethane foam, cellular melamine foam, heavy curtain blankets, and thick fabric wall coverings are some of the sound absorbing acoustic materials. Sound diffusers slash the sound intensity by scattering it over an expanded area rather than eliminating sound reflections as an absorber would do. Barriers are thin layers of dissimilar materials such as gypsum, vinyl, and drywall. These materials are heavy, dense, and massive to prevent sound penetration. Sound isolators are resilient devices that prevent sound transmission not only through the structural steel or concrete, but also plumbing and air handling systems.
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Asia Pacific dominates the global acoustic materials market with more than 40% share. Steady growth in construction and manufacturing industries in Asia Pacific are vital for the acoustic materials market in the region. The acoustic materials market in Asia Pacific is also expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. The concept of building insulation is gaining traction in developing economies as infrastructure development is in the initial phase. The material used for insulating buildings helps in reducing greenhouse emissions and save energy, thus making it popular in residential as well as commercial segments.
Leading companies in the global acoustic materials market include Johns Manville, dB Acoustics Pte Ltd., Rockwool International A/S, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Bayer AG, Owens Corning, and BASF SE.