How thick are workstation panels?
Modern office spaces are far from the traditional cubicles where employees worked in isolation. Today, workstations are more open and spacious, with glass walls allowing for natural light and open dialogue between employees. But the main aspect that separates these new-age workstations from traditional cubicles is the material thickness of their acoustic panels. These panels play a crucial role in creating a peaceful and collaborative workspace. In this article, we will explore the different thicknesses of workstation panels and how they impact workplace acoustics.
What are workstation panels?
Workstation panels, also known as desk dividers or room dividers, are made of acoustic materials like fabric, foam, or composite wood. They are designed to separate workspace from each other and offer privacy to employees. In addition, they provide acoustic separation and sound insulation to dampen unwanted noise. Nowadays, modern workstations feature glass walls and thin panels that add a sleek, modern look and allow natural light to flood in. But how does this impact the acoustic performance of the panels?
The thickness of workstation panels
The thickness of the acoustic panel plays a crucial role in determining its performance. In general, the thicker the panel, the better its acoustic performance. The thickness range of a standard workstation panel varies from 1” to 4”. But, the commonly used thickness of a panel is 2”. Panels thicker than 2” can be used in special cases where the acoustics requires it. The thickness of the panel is directly proportional to its ability to absorb sound waves and reduce reflected sound. A thicker panel absorbs more sound waves than a thinner panel.
How does panel thickness impact acoustics?
The acoustic performance of workstation panels can be measured in terms of their Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating. NRC ratings are typically given on a scale of 0 to 1 and indicate the fraction of sound energy absorbed by the panel. A panel with an NRC rating of 0.5, for example, absorbs 50% of sound energy, while a panel with an NRC rating of 0.8 absorbs 80% of sound energy.
When it comes to the acoustic performance of panels, thickness plays a vital role. As mentioned earlier, the thicker the panel, the better its ability to absorb sound waves. A 2” panel with an NRC rating of 0.7, for example, will perform better at absorbing and reducing sound than a 1” panel with the same NRC rating. Therefore, thicker panels are more effective at isolating noise and creating a quiet work environment.
Benefits of thicker panels
Thicker panels offer several advantages over thinner ones, including better sound absorption and insulation. They can reduce reflected sound, helping maintain a quieter work environment, and interrupt the spread of sound waves from one area to another. Thicker panels also enhance privacy and help reduce distractions, ensuring that employees can focus on their work. By selecting the right panel thickness, employers can enhance the overall acoustic performance of workstations and improve the well-being of their employees.
Limitations of thicker panels
While thicker panels offer superior acoustic performance, they do have limitations. For example, thicker panels may take up more space, limiting flexibility in workspace layouts. They may also be more expensive than thinner panels, which can impact the overall cost of outfitting an office. In addition, thicker panels may offer less translucency, reducing natural light and visibility. And, if the panels are too thick, they may even create a claustrophobic feeling for employees.
If thicker panels are not an option, there are also alternatives to consider. A common choice is a double-glazed glass partition, which provides similar sound insulation to thicker acoustic panels. Double-glazed glass partitions can offer a sleek and modern look to the workspace while still providing privacy and acoustic insulation.
Workstation panels play a crucial role in creating a collaborative and peaceful workspace. The thickness of the panel is a significant factor in determining its acoustic performance. Thicker panels offer better sound insulation, reducing distractions, and reducing employee stress levels. Employers should consider the thickness of the panel when outfitting an office, as well as alternative options like glass partitions, to create a space that promotes productivity and employee well-being..