Tampa sound-reducing business makes waves - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Tampa sound-reducing business makes waves

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - It's happened to everyone - you check into a hotel, and you hear everything happening in the room next door. A Tampa company's technology can help bring that noise down.

Acoustiblok's owner Lahnie Johnson says an eighth of an inch of his material added to a wall can reduce noise as much as a foot of poured concrete.

"It does not stop sound. It does not absorb sound. What it does is transform energy," said Johnson.

His sound-reducing technology is made of a viscoelastic polymer material.

A physics professor at the University of Tampa breaks that down saying the material is viscous like honey, but it also has elastic characteristics like a rubber band.

"That material will bend and flex, and it will transform the energy from the sound waves into friction inside the material as it stretches and bends back to its original shape," said Ethan Deneault.

The Acoustiblok material meets all building codes, and it is screwed to metal or nailed to wood studs in walls before the dry wall is installed.  Johnson says while the primary use of the product is in walls, it is used for many other purposes.

"It's used on boats for engine noise situations. It's used in elevator shafts, and it's used in the mining industry," said Johnson.

The material can also be added to existing fences to create an immediate sound barrier. Around the world, Acoustiblok can be found keeping entire cities quiet from power stations.

"Most third-world countries are now going to locomotive generators," said Johnson.

As the need for noise reduction grows around the world, Johnson is adding 25,000 square feet to his Tampa plant. That expansion will include a new test laboratory to run scenarios with his products. Those tests in other labs can cost up to $20,000.

"That will save us a lot going back and forth and trying things," Johnson said. "We can do it right here."

The current expansion will also bring 50 jobs to the plant. Currently, Acoustiblok sells millions of feet of the material each year for about $2.20 per foot.

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