• Perforated steel stud to improve the acoustic insulation of drywall partitions

      Arjunan, Arun; Baroutaji, Ahmad; Robinson, John (MDPI, 2021-11-09)
      Steel studs are an inevitable part of drywall construction as they are lightweight and offer the required structural stability. However, the studs act as sound bridges between the plasterboards, reducing the overall sound insulation of the wall. Overcoming this often calls for wider cavity walls and complex stud decoupling fixtures that increase the installation cost while reducing the floor area. As an alternative approach, this research reveals the potential of perforated studs to improve the acoustic insulation of drywall partitions. The acoustic and structural performance is characterized using a validated finite element model that acted as a prediction tool in reducing the number of physical tests required. The results established that an acoustic numerical model featuring fluid-structure-interaction can predict the weighted sound reduction index of a stud wall assembly at an accuracy of ±1 dB. The model was used to analyze six perforated stud designs and found them to outperform the sound insulation of non-perforated drywall partitions by reducing the sound bridging. Overall, the best performing perforated stud design was found to offer improvements in acoustic insulation of up to 4 dB, while being structurally compliant.