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01.09.2018

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How to effectively protect four residential buildings from noise

An alternative and easy-to-install vibration damping solution promises good news for newcomers to the hip area of Deptford in South East London.

Ambitions are high at both Farrat Ltd. and Bramming Plast-Industri A/S, two of the collaborators working on a new construction project in the heart of London. No less than three railway lines are located near the construction site, which will ultimately result in four exclusive housing blocks in Deptford, which places great demands on special vibration isolation in this project.

The construction project is called the “Anthology Deptford Foundry” and is a development on the site of a former industrial area south of the Thames, not far from Tower Bridge. The project is slated for completion in 2018 and it will stand atop a smart vibration damping solution. The development is part of a general expansion of the inner London area, but how can it be possible to build buildings housing exclusive residential homes with the troublesome vibration anticipated from the railway lines nearby? The solution is not immediately spotted, but the effect is, nevertheless, very noticeable when it comes to the unique VibraFlex® foam material developed and manufactured by Bramming Plast-Industri A/S.

The starting point for a strong collaboration

The collaboration between Farrat Ltd. and Bramming Plast-Industri A/S can be traced back to 2015. Prior to the current construction project, the partners previously developed a vibration damping solution for a development named Cartwright Gardens, which is part of the University of London. Through this collaboration the companies shared challenges, knowledge and experiences. Just as in Deptford, Cartwright Gardens is located near a railway line and the project also called for extraordinary vibration damping.

For many years, Bramming Plast-Industri A/S has worked with the development, processing and production of customised solutions including vibration damping properties for different purposes. The company is particularly known for its extensive know-how and specialized knowledge of material properties and complex manufacturing processes. Farrat Ltd., which has a reputation for being among the best in the industry when it comes to vibration damping, as well as being well established on the UK market with more than 50 years’ experience, was therefore designated by Bramming Plast-Industri A/S as their preferred cooperating partner .

It was the start of a series of demonstration experiments conducted in collaboration between the two companies. Positive experience was gained from this project in using vibration damping plates made from the special type of foam. When tasked with developing a similar solution for the current construction project, the strong collaboration was once again put into play. Farrat Ltd. provided the calculations and acted as advisors for the project, while Bramming Plast-Industri A/S was able to develop and produce a solution – 100% adapted to suit the new project.

A floor tile with VibraFlex® mounted on top of a layer of PVC.

Good vibrations across the board

Picture caption: Anthology Deptford Foundry after completion in 2018.

The result of the strong collaboration was a so-called “Floor Tile” integrated with VibraFlex® (an elastic and vibration damping foam material) with excellent mechanical properties. VibraFlex® is a unique polyurethane foam, which is distinguished by damping structural and ground-borne vibrations and to be able to withstand repeated shock and stress from both low-frequency and high-frequency vibrations.

The unique properties of VibraFlex® are maintained even under very low temperatures, thus making the foam material ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. It offers great potential and freedoms in relation to design and for use in the construction industry, which both architects and contractors can benefit from. Due to the material’s properties it can be used in many different situations. The material has been widely successful within other industries, such as the railway industry, where the material is placed below the rails, for damping vibrations from machinery etc.

The so-called “Floor Tiles” are comprised of 2 m2 PVC sheets with strips of VibraFlex® mounted on top, thus resulting in a construction with the right thickness and area to achieve the correct pressure distribution in relation to the foam’s function area. The finished Floor Tiles are placed as a part of the foundation, directly on the ground below the lower concrete slab, and thereby absorb vibrations from the ground.

One advantage of Floor Tiles is that the width/thickness of the VibraFlex® strips can be varied and the plates adapted to suit the particular construction project, all according to the thickness/weight of the concrete slab. The columns supporting the building’s other structures are placed on top of a solid rubber block supplied by Farrat.

A fruitful venture into the construction industry

For Farrat Ltd. the strong collaboration meant that they could significantly optimise their solution to suit the current project. The VibraFlex® material can be is manufactured and cut to finished size, and the so-called Floor Tiles are supplied as finished PVC sheets. Everything is ready for installation on the construction site. In this case, the product is unique and designed specifically for the project, thus contributing to a shortened installation time. At the same time, negative influences from the underground and railway are minimized, benefitting the many new homes – an ingenious solution that will last for many years to come.

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