Materials & Applications

Interview with Ir K.K. Iu, Vice President of Macao Institute of Acoustics

“I believe that cork-based materials offer the best way to help people increase their quality of life”

In this interview, Ir K.K. Iu, an acoustics specialist, explains the increasing importance of noise control in residential and commercial buildings and assesses the possible contribution that cork may provide in this field.

As an acoustics specialist with wide-ranging experience, how would you define the concept of impact noise reduction?

Impact noise reduction is related to a floor covering that ensures higher insulation from impact noise, in accordance with ISO 10140-5. This is defined as the reduction of impact noise pressure levels, measured in the recipient room after installation of a floor covering on a 140mm thick reinforced concrete floor.

“Recent research has shown that sound insulation is closely linked to productivity and concentration.”

Ir K.K. Iu

What are the main causes of structure-borne noise? Can you give us some examples.

Structure-borne noise is caused by vibrations. The most common examples in residential buildings are vibrations resulting from walking, children playing and jumping, water pumps and elevators. On the other hand, in commercial buildings, vibrations from refrigeration systems and pumps are the main sources of structure-borne noise.

“Indoor acoustic performance is a key factor in increasing quality of life and I believe that cork-based materials offer the best way to help people to increase their quality of life.”

Ir K.K. Iu

Do you think that sound insulation is important in the daily lives of users of buildings?

Recent research has revealed that sound insulation is closely linked to productivity and concentration. Environments with poorer acoustic conditions affect people’s health and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

In view of this, in your opinion, what are the main concerns in terms of improving buildings’ acoustic conditions?

The main concerns are related to research into ways to reduce air-borne and structure-borne noise when designing buildings that require a reasonable degree of comfort and privacy, in terms of acoustics.

In Hong Kong, where you work, are there specific concerns or do you believe that this is a generic issue?

Most countries and cities have their own laws and regulations regarding structure-borne noise insulation. As far as Hong Kong is concerned, our main concern is that there are no building regulations in terms of indoor noise insulation.

In your opinion, what is the best way to minimise impact noise in buildings? Do you believe that cork-based materials can be part of the solution?

Vibration isolation is the most effective way to reduce structure-borne noise. Cork-based materials are highly resistant and, in addition to enabling vibration insulation, they also have good damping effects.

 Indoor acoustic performance is a key factor in increasing quality of life and I believe that cork-based materials offer the best way to help people to increase their quality of life.

“The challenge in the building acoustics market is to present cork-based materials to architects and consultants who can then apply them in the design of their buildings in order to reduce impact noise.”

Ir K.K. Iu

How do you follow the evolution of cork-based materials and systems in this specific market (Noise & Vibration)?

Cork-based materials have been used in other industries for many centuries. The current challenge in the building acoustics market is to present these cork-based materials to architects and consultants who can then apply them in the design of their buildings in order to reduce impact noise.

Are issues of the environmental impact of constructions and the sustainability of materials relevant? Why?

Yes. Scarcity of natural resources, global warming and environmental pollution are our main concerns in terms of sustainable development. Promoting green products is essential if this global mission is to be successful.

Sobre Ir K.K. Iu

With a degree in engineering from the University of Hong Kong, Ir K.K. Iu has more than 35 years of experience in the areas of acoustics and noise control. He was president of the Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics and vice president of the Macau Institute of Acoustics.

 He is currently the executive and technical director of NAP Acoustics, a Hong Kong-based company specializing in the design, creation, and installation of acoustics solutions and products for noise and vibration control.

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