For years, F-Sorb has been an industry leader in sound treatment, noise mitigation, and efficient installation solutions. The team has pioneered the creation of best-in-class, eco-friendly acoustic solutions for commercial, residential, and public buildings across the nation and around the world. F-Sorb also has a story of innovation, of revolutionizing acoustic technology one patent at a time.
In this article, we take a moment to explore F-Sorb’s storied history of innovation, using our founder and owner, Doug Bixel’s vast collection of patents to light our way. Indeed, it’s these patents that have made F-Sorb’s acoustic solutions the best in the world today.
Before We Begin: A Look at Acoustic Fundamentals
Before we begin our deep dive into F-Sorb’s most significant contributions to the science of acoustic design, it’s essential to first explore some of the fundamentals of the science of sound and sound mitigation. On the most basic level, it’s important to understand that sound is energy that moves in waves from the source to the receiver, where it is either absorbed, diffused, or reflected in the form of echoing and/or reverberation.
When it comes to acoustic design and sound mitigation in built environments, the key is to maximize sound wave absorption. The absorption and diffusion of sound waves depend very much on the nature of the materials a sound wave hits, as well as the placement, design, and layout of those materials. In general, porous surfaces are more absorbent than hard, solid surfaces. Conversely, flat, hard, uniform surfaces do not absorb or diffuse sound waves like segmented or ridged materials that can help break up (i.e. diffuse) the sound wave before it bounces around a space.
In addition, air space behind and around an absorptive material will increase the surface’s capacity for sound wave absorption and diffusion because there is more surface area to receive the sound waves.
It is these fundamental principles of the science of sound that have driven innovation at F-Sorb, leading to product and design innovations that are shaping the future of acoustic engineering.
Revolutionizing Acoustic Design One Innovation at a Time
F-Sorb’s remarkable record of innovation started early when, on February 1, 2017, Bixel was awarded US Patent 20170221468 A1. This patent, entitled “Systems and Methods for Constructing Noise Reducing Surfaces,” defined a new approach for integrating noise-reducing mechanisms into raw building materials. Specifically, the patent refers to the introduction of acoustic material into concrete formwork. When the concrete has cured and the forms are removed, the acoustic material is already there, embedded into the surface of the concrete material. This creates an opportunity to boost the noise reduction capacities of the building’s essential structures, its columns, walls, and ceilings, without needing to affix or add noise controls to those surfaces using binders or mechanical fasteners. The result is more effective noise mitigation–built right in! This application is especially relevant for industrial structures, highway overpasses, and other exterior spaces that require sound dampening.
Bixel’s trajectory of innovation didn’t stop there. In the years subsequent to securing that first important patent, he and his team were researching, testing, and perfecting a host of new acoustic technologies. The outcome of these years of intense effort would be multiple years of profound achievement that would lead to five new patents being awarded, resulting in an ever-increasing improvement in performance and ease of installation for the acoustic design industry. For example, there are several new designs that allow FSorb products to quickly clip into a traditional ceiling grid for fast, easy installations in either a retrofit or new construction project.
Bixel focused on three unique design patents. The first was D956540 S, entitled “Acoustic Panel End Pair.” Unlike Bixel’s other patents, this innovation isn’t about the creation of a new product or process. Rather, it’s about a significant improvement in how to quickly and efficiently install an existing product line. Specifically, the Acoustic Panel End Pair has substantially enhanced the already significant sound mitigation properties of the Quietgrid cloud product line. The design innovation is based on a shift and lift design, which allows the edge of the Quietgrid to easily pop up into an existing metal ceiling grid (as shown in the above photo).
The second design patent was D956541S, which changed the way acoustic sound baffles are mounted to the ceiling. Specifically, Bixel designed a ceiling-mounted T-Grid system for use with F-Sorb’s Silentline ceiling baffles. This enables the baffles to be mounted into the metal T-Grid using what FSorb is calling their T-Snap shape that gets cut out of their product.
Then there’s design patent D956542S. Much like the T-Grid system, this innovation revolutionizes the mechanisms through which acoustic ceiling baffles work. Bixel’s design was created to maximize the acoustic control properties of Silentline ceiling baffles when they are attached to a standard bolt-slot metal ceiling grid. Here, an F-Snap attachment has been created to affix the baffles to the ceiling grid. Once again, we have an increased surface area for absorbing and diffusing sound waves while at the same time creating airspace to increase sound wave absorption.
Now we come to November 2022 and design patent 11486142B2. This patent refers to a new design for mounting acoustic ceiling panels on a ceiling suspension system. Once again, we have the power of the creation of air space behind a receiving surface to maximize sound wave absorption and diffusion. In addition, the capacity to affix acoustic ceiling panels to a suspended ceiling means that the tiles themselves can not only effectively absorb sound wave energy, but they can also serve to break up and diffuse the wave merely through their strategic arrangement on the ceiling suspension system.
Another exciting example is the “Multi-Layer Acoustic Medium” patent, which refers to the development of an entirely new acoustic medium made of fibrous materials oriented so as to achieve virtually unprecedented levels of noise reduction. This occurs through the use of a multi-layered design in which acoustic fibers arrayed in the second or upper-most planes receive and absorb or diffuse the sound waves that have “leaked” through the first or lowest planes.
Putting F-Sorb Innovation to Work For You
At F-Sorb, our long record of innovation and excellence has made us an industry leader in acoustic design. From the creation of custom sound mitigation solutions for healthcare facilities, office spaces, and restaurants to our outfitting of warehouses and manufacturing facilities, F-Sorb is proud to serve some of the world’s most powerful institutions and organizations, including Google, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, British Petroleum, Delta Airlines, and even the US Department of Energy.
Contact your local F-Sorb representative today to discuss how we can put our history of innovation in acoustic technology to work for you!
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.