By 2016, Australia will be having its quietest hospital. For completion in three year's time, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will be housing 800 beds with state-of-the-art facilities, including a helipad sitting atop its southwest corner.
Constructing a helipad for the convenience of transporting patients posed a major challenge for hospital's planners and builders. From 20 meters away, helicopters create over 100 decibels of noise. Comparable to sound equivalent to being in the front row at a rock concert, the noise decibel is not very conducive for patient's care. An important clause in the construction contract is that noise reduction must be considered when choosing glazing materials.
The team from CSIRO's acoustics lab in Melbourne has been working alongside with facade manufacturer Yuanda Australia's engineers, measuring the performance of the windows, 70,000 square meters all to ensure that the South Australian Government's stringent sound-proofing requirements are met. Their job is to measure the performance of the windows to ensure that the stringent sound-proofing requirements are achieved.
To undertake the test measurements, the engineering team custom-built a brick wall between two cavernous sound chambers to hold sample windows. A standardized sound-source generated noise in one chamber, while sound intensity and pressure levels were measured on the other side of the glass.
According to CSIRO Project Leader Dr. Christopher Preston, this allowed the CSIRO team to assess how well the glazing would perform when exposed to the noise of a helicopter.
"To ensure that all areas of the hospital meet the sound insulation requirements, different window configurations had to be evaluated," he said.
"This meant the brick wall had to be knocked down and rebuilt about a dozen times in order to hold different facade elements," the project leader noted.
The results showed that Yuanda's glazing systems would effectively reduce the impact of helicopter noise among patients.
CSIRO's acoustic laboratory is one of the few facilities in Australia equipped to perform the low frequency measurements required for this type of assessment, the press release said.
Working closely with companies like Yuanda, Preston said, CSIRO is helping better match building products to the needs of the Australian community.
According to Yuanda Engineer Gareth Winstanley, with the testing phase now complete, the glazing is ready for production.
"When it is finished the new Royal Adelaide Hospital will be the quietest hospital in the country," he stressed.
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