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Is the Fiberglass (in the Sound Absorbtive Panels) Dangerous to Your Health ?

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It's an environmentally friendly


This was the reason I started the whole project. In London UK for example there are over 10 tons of newsprint left behind on the trains each and every day. It mostly goes to the landfill. At great cost. Efforts are underway to change that, but overwhelmingly newspaper/junkmail makes up a big chunk of the material clogging our landfills.


After a summer of work I found myriad commercial applications for about 80% of the materials in the waste stream. All simple. And all easy to do with almost no resources. And the operation could use a pellet stove and pelletizer to run itself from waste wood (also a big chunk of the waste stream). It would create jobs, save money, save landfills, etc.


Enter reality. You need shop space (I live in second most expensive real estate market in Canada), you need time (I live cheque to cheque), you need will from local officials (despite their sqwauking you can't get an appt. with anyone significant -- and if you do they just want to take credit for your work). Etc, etc, etc. :)


Anyhow have fun with it. Start small, use a blender to create a lump of pulp and then dry it into a block, that'll only take a few minutes to do and you'll get the hang of the whole process.


Depending on what temperature the room is at and the shape of the container the "gluey" effect happens after a few days. We did one batch in a kiddie pool and it got really warm so I assume it was fermenting somehow. You'd push your hand into it and it was toasty in the middle -- that's when the consistency changes from paper-y to paste-y. You can actually smell when it happens, it's slightly sour but not unpleasant. (The cured end product has no smell)


It actually makes a killer insulation too in any spot which isn't damp. Perfect for filling cracks, etc. It shrinks a lot though so you have to get used to that.


We made one batch with powdered drywall in there and it came out fireproof and much denser. Experiment. :)

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What ratio of paper / water / Borax are you using? Have you attempted to set one of the panels on fire to test the flameproofing?


Its kinda funny that a forum that is here for people to learn, is crippled by many of its elitist users who just spend too much time here bitching at people.


Actually, on this forum, I encourage debates and discussions over tools and techniques, but I strongly discourage "bitching at people". :)

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I admitedly know very little about the science of acoustic control and have retained only a fraction of what i've read about it. But if the little I do remember is correct, foam absorbs the shorter, higher frequencies by trapping them or defusing them in the millions of tiny air pockets or channels common to foam. Meanwhile, fiber glass and mineral wool absorb longer, lower frequencies by the inefficient transfer of vibration of surface fibers to adjacent fibers deeper into the material - the thicker the material the greater reduction and longer wave-length reduction. On the other hand, soundPROOFING, or ISOLATION is the result of greater mass and density such as cement.

I can't imagine a solid block of dried goo as doing much in the way of absorbtion, especially with a painted surface. And as a solid I don't know that it would do much to reduce low frequencies by inefficient energy transfer. On the other hand, the rough uneven surface might help with diffusing reflections. And if they are as dense and heavy as you say, they might be effective at isolation from one room to another.

And as compressed as they would be, I would imagine that while still flammable they would be considered flame-retardent. Similar to throwing a phone book into the fire - the outer pages will burn quickly but it takes a long time for the heat to combust the inner pages.

As someone has mentioned, it would be interesting to have them tested for acoustic properties. But I doubt that a company that sells acoustic control products would offer their services. Unless of course the acoustic properties test out very poorly, and then they'd be more than happy to share the results.

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What ratio of paper / water / Borax are you using? Have you attempted to set one of the panels on fire to test the flameproofing?


Well the idea is to use as little water as needed and I believe the borax was 1/12 for full effect -- it's cheap. We got a panel made with gypsum to resist combustion for 2 hours under a torch (all it takes for top level certification) -- the panel was burnt but never caught fire.


I wonder if you had some method of aerating the pulp if it would be better at sound absorption. One would think that density is not better in this application.


You can control the density in various ways. It's just as easy to make this stuff "undense" as it is to make it "super dense". It's just paper mache. It would also probably be easy to aerate in some way -- but I have to admit my experience is cursory, and I have almost no scientific knowledge. I did this for one summer and then didn't take the idea any further...


I can't imagine a solid block of dried goo as doing much in the way of absorbtion


Well first of all this is exactly why I will stop posting on this topic right now -- but second of all you can control the density and acoustic properties easily via a variety of methods such as shape, texture, inclusions, etc. -- and I can tell you very frankly with 100% certainty they do absorb sound. Period.


And as I've mentioned they can obviously be colored via inclusion rather than surface painting, etc. I also created more than one skyline diffuser with this material and they perform superbly but those are patented, so no pics or examples.


Anyhow that's my cue gents. Cheers and best wishes on the experimentation. :thu:

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I am a great believer in avoiding things that may damage one's health....Hence, I would show little favor to fiberglass panels that were not 100% airtight, no matter what the "experts" may have to say about the matter. There's got to be another healthier way.


I had the opportunity to work a bit with fiberglass many years ago to a very minor degree. Despite precautions I thought were adequate, the damn stuff still found its way on my skin and it is not a pleasant feeling. Itching is not quite how I would desribe it...more like little shivers of broken glass that has scraped your skin and planted itself where no amount of sanitation can remove it. It...sucks. Kind of like torture. What it can do to your lungs is probably much more dangerous. :eek:


I would probably never use it in a studio, should I ever have anything larger than what I have now...a small, bedroom-type of set-up. I would seek other more natural solutions. And foam does leach chemicals into the air as well. I won't use a foam pillow.


I dig the idea of the paper goo for diffusion/absorption, though I know little of the science of sound wave reflections/absorption and the like.


Just a thought: Perhaps it would be beneficial to constuct a wired framing of some sort, a skeleton, so to speak, if you wanted the density to be less than it would be in the more solid framing done with foam, as MC did. Then apply the paper goo to it with a putty knife.


Anyway, just a thought that popped into my head :facepalm: while reading this very interesting thread.

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