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Precast Concrete Retaining Walls
Quiet! Cut the Noise!
High traffic areas usually produce unwanted noise. Numerous studies indicate that the universal source of noise today is affiliated with transportation. Notable sources of unwanted and disruptive noise emissions originate from:
- Transportation equipment and facilities.
- Construction equipment.
- Electrical machinery
- Noise emitted by heavy-duty vehicles.
Places with people and animals that might be negatively impacted by loud noise include residential homes or apartments, hospitals, schools, and office buildings. This situation makes Precast concrete retaining wall barriers ideal for noise reduction.
Precast concrete retaining walls are the most effective means of mitigating noise from primary sources other than volume control. In North America, concrete walls account for nearly half of all noise reduction walls. Besides being regarded as one of the strongest, most enduring, and versatile materials, precast concrete sound walls also:
- Produce the highest noise transmission-loss value than other common sound wall materials (concrete’s higher mass reduces sound penetrating by more than 80% in relation to wood or steel frame construction)
- Require a considerably less footprint compared to other noise-reduction techniques.
- Can be designed to blend with urban architecture and natural topography
- Can accommodate absorptive or reflective qualities on both sides of the wall system
- Provide a lower life-cycle cost and high strength compared with other materials
Precast concrete retaining walls walls are designed to reduce noise emissions in two ways: absorbing the sound energy or reflecting the sound across the source and into the atmosphere. For a sound wall to be a significant barrier, the wall must have
- Minimum density of 37 lb/yd2 [20 kg/m2 ] 1
- Sufficient height to obstruct the line-of-site of the noise source
- Minimum eight times the length of the distance from the subject to the barrier.
Disrupting the line-of-site from the noise source to the receiver can account for a 5 dB noise-level reduction. After this reduction, sound barriers can achieve approximately 1.5 dB of noise reduction for each additional 3 ft. (1 m) of barrier height. Because sound levels are measured logarithmically, a 9 dB reduction is equivalent to eliminating about 80% of unwanted sound. An adequately designed sound wall may eliminate about 80% of unwanted sound emitting from the noise source.
Precast interlocking concrete blocks, such as the MagnumStone, provide inherent strength, durability and versatility that allow for aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective noise barrier designs. Not only are they easy to maintain and resistant to rot, vandalism, and fire, but they are also plant-friendly, hollow concrete blocks that can be filled with a planting medium to accommodate suitable plants.
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