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Achieving the Proper Sound Transmission Class (STC) with Glass Wall Systems

CH II STC Wide Landscape
03.21.24 | Industry Insights Content Hub

When considering architectural design, producing optimal sound transmission class (STC) is paramount for creating spaces that offer tranquility and privacy. Glass wall systems present a unique challenge in this regard. However, with innovative engineering and appropriate attention to detail, manufacturers are revolutionizing the industry by introducing new solutions that enhance STC performance.

The Science Behind STC

STC quantifies a material's ability to impede the transmission of sound waves. It is measured in decibels (dB), reflecting the reduction in sound intensity as it passes through a barrier. Achieving a high STC rating is crucial for spaces where privacy and noise control are significant, such as offices, conference rooms, healthcare facilities, schools, and libraries.

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Factors Influencing STC in Glass Wall Systems:

Glass Size, Thickness, and Type: The size and thickness of the glass panels, as well as their composition, play a significant role in determining STC. Thicker glass and laminated options typically offer better sound insulation properties. By selecting the proper combination, INFINIUM's Quantum Double Butt-Glazed system can reach ratings as high as 50 STC.

External Factors: External noise sources such as traffic or construction activity can influence the overall sound transmission within a space. Effective STC requires consideration of these external factors during the design and installation process. Utilizing acoustic products, such as Arktura wall and ceiling panels can enhance the design of the space while absorbing unwanted sound.

Air Pocket Between Glass Panes: The distance between the two panes of glass in double-glazed units affects STC. A wider gap provides better sound insulation by minimizing direct sound transmission. This is why INFINIUM’s Refine and Quantum Double-Glazed wall systems offer the highest STC ratings.

Sealing Mechanisms: The effectiveness of seals and gaskets used in glass wall systems is crucial for achieving optimal STC. Different types of seals, including bulb seals, custom flap seals, and foam gaskets, help to eliminate gaps and ensure airtight seals around the perimeter of the glass panels.

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Innovative Sealing Solutions

One of the key innovations driving advancements in STC performance is the development of specialized sealing mechanisms tailored for glass wall systems. Here are some notable examples:

Bulb Seals: Custom bulb seals made from rubber gaskets play a critical role in holding the glass tightly within aluminum frames. These seals help to eliminate gaps and ensure a secure fit, enhancing STC performance.

Foam Gaskets: Low-density foam gaskets provide additional sealing around door frames, preventing sound leakage when doors are closed. These gaskets create a tight seal, enhancing the overall acoustic insulation of the space.

Custom Flap Seals and Pile: Custom flap seals, along with ½” or ¼” pile and fins, offer superior sound insulation properties by sealing gaps and minimizing sound leakage. These specialized seals are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use while maintaining optimal STC performance.

Drop Seals: Drop seals help improve STC by effectively sealing the air gaps between the door and the floor, preventing the passage of sound to create a quieter and more comfortable environment.

Glazing Blocks: Industry-standard glazing blocks are used to level the glass and ensure engagement into all gasketing. These rubber blocks provide consistent support along the edges of the glass, ensuring a uniform fit and preventing potential stress points or distortions in the installation.

Polycarbonate I-Beams: In our butt-glazed wall systems, impact-resistant I-beams are used to join the panes of glass along the vertical seams, adding damping properties by absorbing sound energy. I-beams also act as a buffer or decoupler, preventing direct contact between the glass panels, minimizing the transfer of sound vibrations from one panel to another.

Solid Point Connections: Highly engineered solid point detailing ensures seamless integration of glass panels with the surrounding structure, minimizing sound transmission through the walls. These connections are meticulously designed to meet stringent acoustic requirements.

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At INFINIUM, our Engineering, Production, and Installation teams administer a comprehensive approach that addresses various factors, including glass size, sealing mechanisms, and external influences. By leveraging innovative sealing solutions and advanced engineering techniques, we continue to enhance the acoustic insulation properties of our glass wall systems.

In addition to utilizing an in-house sound testing booth, we also rely on third-party ASTME 90 testing which recently scored us an impressive 50 STC rating with our Quantum Double Butt-Glazed wall system, reaffirming our dedication to pushing the boundaries and delivering solutions that redefine the way we experience sound in built environments.

"Achieving high STC ratings isn't just about meeting standards—it's about surpassing expectations and giving customers the confidence that they're investing in a product that delivers."

Kevin Breslin, Senior Director of Operations
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As the demand for flexible and aesthetically pleasing architectural solutions continues to grow, the evolution of glass wall systems with superior STC performance represents a significant advancement in modern building design. In addition to our standard glass wall systems, insulation can also be added to certain products to raise the acoustic integrity. For further inquiries or specific details, please feel free to reach out to an INFINIUM Sales team member. We are committed to providing products engineered specifically to your needs.

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