Acoustic ceilings were developed in the 1960s and were commonly used in homes to create lower ceilings, as well as to provide a sound barrier. In addition to absorbing sound, these ceilings also allowed homeowners to install additional duct-work, electrical wiring, and plumbing.
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Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)
NRC measures the average percentage of noise a material absorbs at four frequencies: 250, 500, 1000, 2000Hz. This key measure of absorption of general office noise is expressed as a single value percentage from 0.0 to 1.0 (Reference: AS 1045 – 1989, ASTM C 423-00 and E 795-00).
Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC)
CAC rates a ceiling structure’s efficiency as a barrier to airborne sound intrusion between two closed rooms, over the speech frequency range.
It is an especially significant measure in providing acoustic privacy between adjacent work areas, where sound can penetrate plenum spaces and carry to other spaces.
CAC is stated as a minimum value; CAC minimum 25 is acceptable in open plan offices, while a rating of minimum 35 or 40 is preferred for closed offices. (Reference: AS 2499:2000, ASTM E 1414-00a )
Articulation Class (AC)
AC rates a ceiling’s suitability for achieving normal speech privacy in open office spaces by absorbing noise reflected at an angle off the ceiling into adjacent cubicles. This is a measure of the noise reflected over office partitions (60″, 1.5M high) in the frequencies critical to speech intelligibility and conversational privacy. AC is the primary measure of acoustic performance in the open plan. (Reference: AS 1045 – 1989, ASTM C 423-00 and E 795-00 )