Standard Historical Last Updated: Nov 29, 2017 Track Document
ASTM E336-17

Standard Test Method for Measurement of Airborne Sound Attenuation between Rooms in Buildings

Standard Test Method for Measurement of Airborne Sound Attenuation between Rooms in Buildings E0336-17 ASTM|E0336-17|en-US Standard Test Method for Measurement of Airborne Sound Attenuation between Rooms in Buildings Standard new BOS Vol. 04.06 Committee E33
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Significance and Use

5.1 The main part of this standard uses procedures originally developed for laboratory measurements of the transmission loss of partitions. These procedures assume that the rooms in which the measurements are made have a sound field that reasonably approximates a diffuse field. Sound pressure levels in such rooms are reasonably uniform throughout the room and average levels vary inversely with the logarithm of the room sound absorption. Not all rooms will satisfy these conditions. Practical experience and controlled studies (1)6 have shown that the test method is applicable to smaller spaces normally used for work or living, such as rooms in multi-family dwellings, hotel guest rooms, meeting rooms, and offices with volumes less than 150 cubic meters. The measures appropriate for such spaces are NR, NNR, and ATL. The corresponding single number ratings are NIC, NNIC and ASTC. The ATL and ASTC may be measured between larger spaces that meet a limitation on absorption in the spaces to provide uniform sound distribution.

5.2 Annex A2 was developed for use in spaces that are very large (volume of 150 m3 or greater). Sound pressure levels during testing can vary markedly across large rooms so that the degree of isolation can vary strongly with distance from the common (separating) partition. This procedure evaluates the isolation observed near the partition. The appropriate measure is NR, and the appropriate single number rating is NIC.

5.3 It is sometimes necessary to demonstrate that the sound insulation of a partition meets or exceeds a specific criterion. Annex A1 provides additional requirements, and describes how shielding procedures can be used to reduce flanking transmission in stages to show that a partition has achieved a minimum value of the FTL or minimum value of the FSTC which may meet or exceed the criterion. If it is demonstrated that no significant flanking exists through shielding of all potential flanking paths, then, and only then, FTL and FSTC may be reported without qualification.

Note 4: Measuring the sound transmission loss properties of a partition itself to demonstrate that it meets or exceeds a specific criterion is very difficult in the field due to the presence of flanking (2, 3). Room volume and absorption requirements must also be met.

5.4 Several metrics are available for specific uses. Some evaluate the overall sound isolation between spaces including the effect of absorption in the receiving space and some evaluate the performance or apparent performance of the partition being evaluated. The results obtained are applicable only to the specific location tested.

5.4.1 Noise Reduction (NR) and Noise Isolation Class (NIC)—Describe the sound isolation found between the two spaces under consideration. Noise reduction data are based on the space- and time averaged sound pressure levels meeting the requirements of 11.3 or A2.3 as required depending on the sound absorption, volume, and shape requirements of 9.2. Noise reduction values are influenced by the absorption in the receiving space as well as the apparent performance of the partition. The noise reduction values in unfurnished spaces will usually be less than in furnished spaces, and noise reduction values between the spaces may differ depending on the test direction used and the sound absorption in the spaces. However, these effects are lessened when the method of Annex A2 is used.

5.4.2 Normalized Noise Reduction (NNR) and Normalized Noise Isolation Class (NNIC)—Describe the sound isolation between two residential or office spaces meeting the requirements of 9.3.1 adjusted to standardized room conditions typical of such spaces when normally furnished.

5.4.3 Apparent Transmission Loss (ATL) and Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC)—Describe the apparent sound insulation of a partition separating two spaces. All sound transmission, including any flanking transmission, is ascribed to the partition. The actual transmission loss of the partition will usually be higher than the apparent transmission loss. These results are in theory the same in each direction but may differ with direction in practice.

5.4.4 Field Transmission Loss (FTL) and Field Sound Transmission Class (FSTC)—These results should theoretically approach the actual sound insulation of a partition or partition element as would be measured in a laboratory, but in practice they often do not. These values may be reported only if the stringent requirements of Annex A1 to reduce flanking transmission are met. Since all flanking is removed to obtain these metrics, they do not reflect the sound attenuation experienced by the occupants when flanking transmission is significant. These results are in theory the same in each direction but may differ with direction in practice.

Note 5: Since the metric ASTC includes the effect of direct and flanking transmission, the ASTC will be less than or equal to the FSTC. The difference depends on the magnitude of the flanking transmission. Thus, the ASTC can be used to demonstrate that a partition at least meets an FSTC requirement and may exceed it. If ASTC is measured under conditions that do not satisfy the more stringent requirements in Annex A1, this may introduce other variations.


1.1 The sound isolation between two spaces in a building is influenced most strongly by a combination of the direct transmission through the nominally separating building element (as normally measured in a laboratory) and any transmission along a number of indirect paths, usually referred to as flanking paths. Fig. 1 illustrates the direct paths and some possible structural flanking paths. Additional non-structural flanking paths may include transmission through common air ducts between rooms, or doors to the corridor from adjacent rooms. Sound isolation is also influenced by the size of the separating partition between spaces and absorption in the receiving space, and in the case of small spaces by modal behavior of the space and close proximity to surfaces.

FIG. 1 Direct (D) and Some Indirect or Flanking Paths (F and Dotted) in a Building

Direct (D) and Some Indirect or Flanking Paths (F and Dotted) in a BuildingDirect (D) and Some Indirect or Flanking Paths (F and Dotted) in a Building

1.2 The main part of this test method defines procedures and metrics to assess the sound isolation between two rooms or portions thereof in a building separated by a common partition or the apparent sound insulation of the separating partition, including both direct and flanking transmission paths in all cases. Appropriate measures and their single number ratings are the noise reduction (NR) and noise isolation class (NIC) which indicate the isolation with the receiving room furnished as it is during the test, the normalized noise reduction (NNR) and normalized noise isolation class (NNIC) which indicate the expected isolation when the receiving room is a normally furnished living or office space that is at least 25 m3 (especially useful when the test must be done with the receiving room unfurnished), and the apparent transmission loss (ATL) and apparent sound transmission class (ASTC) which indicate the apparent sound insulating properties of a separating partition. The measurement of ATL is limited to spaces of at least 25 m3 where modal effects create fewer problems. With the exception of the ATL and ASTC under specified conditions, these procedures in the main part of the test method are only applicable when both room volumes are less than 150 m3.

Note 1: The word “partition” in this test method includes all types of walls, floors, or any other boundaries separating two spaces. The boundaries may be permanent, operable, or movable.

1.3 The NR and NIC between two locations may always be measured and reported though conditions present will influence how measurements are made. Restrictions such as minimum room volume or dimensions or maximum room absorption are imposed for all other measures and ratings in this standard. Thus, conditions may exist that will not allow NNR (NNIC), ATL (ASTC) or FTL (FSTC) to be reported. Where a partition between rooms is composed of parts that are constructed differently, or contains an element such as a door, it is not possible to measure the ATL and ASTC of the individual elements or portions of the partition. To evaluate the field performance of a door less than 6 m2 in area, use Test Method E2964. The various metrics are inherently different quantities, so that NIC cannot be used instead of NNIC or ASTC when specifications are written in terms of one of those metrics that cannot be reported with the conditions present.

1.4 Annex A1 provides methods to assess the sound transmission through a partition or partition element with the influence of flanking transmission reduced. These methods may be used when it must be demonstrated that a partition has achieved a specified minimum sound attenuation. The results are the field transmission loss (FTL) and field sound transmission class (FSTC).

1.5 Annex A2 provides methods to measure the sound isolation between portions of two rooms in a building separated by a common partition including both direct and flanking paths when at least one of the rooms has a volume of 150 m3 or more. The results are the noise reduction (NR) and noise isolation class (NIC).

1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.7 The text of this test method references notes and footnotes which provide explanatory material. These notes and footnotes (excluding those in tables and figures) shall not be considered as requirements of the standard.

1.8 This standard may involve hazardous materials, operations, and equipment. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.06
Developed by Subcommittee: E33.03
Pages: 17
DOI: 10.1520/E0336-17
ICS Code: 91.120.20