Revolutionary Screw Halves Sound Transmission

3 August 2021

One of the biggest complaints about the kind of multi-family housing is noise from neighbours that comes through the walls and ceilings. The problem can be even worse in wood construction, flanking around the edges of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels or through wood stud walls in low-rise “missing middle” housing.

There are many approaches to dealing with the problem, but here is a new one: a special screw developed by Håkan Wernersson of Malmö University in Sweden. The “Revolutionary Sound Absorbing Screw” or “Sound Screw” is split in the middle with the two parts separated by a sort of spring which acts as a resilient mechanical coupling, which decouples the drywall from the stud. Wernersson says “with our screw, you can mount plasterboard directly to the walls, freeing up floor space, and a square meter of floor space can be worth thousands.”

The test data from a sound lab show that the Sound Screw reduces noise transmission by nine decibels. As the decibel scale is logarithmic, that is equivalent to cutting the noise level in half, a meaningful reduction.

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