Acoustic Windshield: The Technology, Benefits and Does it Really Work?
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This is the latest innovation in car manufacturing. An acoustic windshield is designed to minimize the noise you hear while driving.
Regardless of what is around you, this windshield will limit the noise level and help you enjoy a quiet and safe driving experience.
It is made of additional layers of insulation that are soundproof. In between these layers, there are two additional layers. One is a standard Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and the other one is made of acoustic PVB. This helps make the cabin of the vehicle very quiet.
The technology behind acoustic windshield
Automotive engineers today are on an unending quest to make motor vehicles more comfortable and quieter. In this industry, it means that they have to find ways of reducing the noise levels, vibrations and harshness. This is what is known as NVH.
According to research, the noise that is transmitted through the vehicle comes from the following sources;
- Air impinging on the vehicle’s body panel edges.
- Environmental noises.
- Fluctuations in air pressure especially against the windshield when you are at high speeds.
- Road noises and vibrations. These noises are mostly due to the vehicle’s body structure.
One of the ways that have been found to reduce these noise levels is through the thickness of the glass. This provides you with marginal noise reduction that also adds to the weight of the vehicle.
Currently, PVB suppliers are developing types of vinyl that have improved acoustic-damping qualities as mentioned above. These are simply interlayers of glass with a particular efficiency of between 1500 – 5,000 HZ in frequency range.
The noise reduction in decibels (Decibel dB is a unit used to measure noise levels) is 2-3 dB overall. This means that your vehicle becomes much quieter in the interior and this level of quietness allows you to converse with other passengers without the need to keep shouting.
Acoustic vinyl will also enable the vehicle designers to decrease the windshield thickness without necessarily affecting the noise level reduction. This is particularly important for automotive engineers who try to shave off the weight of motor vehicles in order to make them more fuel-efficient.
Acoustic windshields also meet all of the required federal safety specs for regular vinyl, so, you need not worry about how safe it is to have it in your vehicle.
Do acoustic windshields work?
This is the question everyone asks because acoustic windshields are extremely expensive and you would love to get value for your money.
Now, according to reviews and research done on this new technology, there is tangible proof that having an acoustic windshield will actually reduce the noise levels in your car.
The traffic noise outside of your vehicle usually reaches up to 75 dB. This is very high. The ideal noise should be 25 dB. The noise is caused by other vehicles around you, and also the air pressure that is against your windshield as you drive fast.
Traditional windshields are usually designed with thick glass, in order to reduce this noise, but it’s never good enough. The thickness adds too much weight to the vehicle which will affect the fuel economy.
An acoustic vinyl windshield will reduce noise transmission by at least 60%. This is more than the traditional windshields.
Using acoustic vinyl film also means that you have a heavy glass, but one that is thinner compared to the traditional windshields, which means that you do not increase the weight of the vehicle.
In this way, you kill two birds with one stone – a quieter and fuel-efficient vehicle at the same time.
Some manufacturers are actually using acoustic glass for the side windows as well, but in the high-end vehicles so as to further reduce the noise levels.
Here are some other benefits of having an acoustic windshield:
Acoustic windshields contribute highly to the safety of your vehicle in case there is glass breakage. Even if this glass appears to be thinner than regular windshield glass, it is much stronger and can withstand much more damage before it actually breaks.
This means that it is extremely difficult for a burglar to smash your windshield.
Also, in case of an accident, the vinyl will keep the glass bits together and prevent the shards from flying all over the inside of your vehicle and possibly hurting you and other passengers.
It is extremely uncomfortable to drive when the sun is scorching hot. It also makes visibility difficult, and you may end up with a terrible sunburn on your forehead.
Acoustic windshields are better for you because they also provide sun protection.
The vinyl layer is vulnerable to sun radiation, and therefore, manufacturers usually coat it with UV filters. These help ensure that the UVB and UVA rays do not get through the glass.
As a result of this, the radiation from the sun does not get inside the vehicle and this reduces the risk of suffering sunburn and skin cancer.
If you are already suffering from a skin-related condition such as eczema, or melanoma, reducing the effects of the sun’s rays is crucial to your health.
There are of course many ways of protecting yourself from the sun, such as appropriate clothing and sunscreen, but, limiting the exposure while you drive will require you to invest in an acoustic windshield.
In addition, the UV protection will also protect your car’s interior from sun damage. The sun’s rays are not only harmful to you but also your vehicle’s leather and fabrics. It prevents them from turning yellow, and looking old and worn out.
Saves on Gas
The idea of having a thick glass in the form of a windshield is not new, and in fact, it has been the norm for a while.
However, the problem in the past has been that; heavy windshields made the car extremely heavy, and as mentioned above, a heavy vehicle consumes a lot of fuel, which is not economical.
Therefore, the introduction of acoustic windshields that provides you with the same benefits of having a heavy windshield but in a thinner model makes all the difference.
Their specialized PVB technology provides the interlayered glass that creates an efficiency that is similar to a thickened noise-proofed windshield.
In this case, you get to have a good quality windshield that acts as a heavy one but doesn’t contribute to the heaviness of the vehicle, which means that your car is lighter and hence consumes less fuel.
What we are saying is that it cuts down on carbon emissions, and improves fuel consumption.
The major downside with acoustic windshields has got to be the overall cost. They are extremely expensive, but if you think about all the benefits we have outlined above, they are more than worth the cost.
How can you tell if you have an acoustic windshield?
If your windshield is equipped with an acoustic windshield, it will clearly say so.
This is a new innovative feature that car manufacturers are proud of, and they love to highlight it. If you check on the corners of your windshield, you can see a label that shows it is an acoustic windshield.
The most common way that they use to designate this is by use of a sticker with the word “Acoustic” or letter “A” on it. Sometimes, the sign may appear to be a picture of an ear or a soundwave.
On a Ford-Lincoln car, you shall see the word “SoundScreen” on it. This is a synonym to an acoustic windshield.
What else can you see on your windshield?
Different manufacturers have different ways of identifying their makes, and here are a few other things you may see on your windshield and what they actually mean:
- Laminated AS1 – this means that the windshield glass is laminated, and AS1 means that the glass has passed all of the safety tests.
- E code – This will be in a circle, and it means that the windscreen was made in Europe. The code identifies the country and it also means that the screen has passed similar AS1 tests.
- CCC in a circle – this means that it was made in China, and passes the AS1 tests.
- The name of the windshield manufacture and their logo.
- The vehicle manufacturer's name and logo.
- The DOT code – this code means that the windshield meets all of the safety standards and the code identifies the glass manufacturer and also gives instructions that it must be used as has been assigned.
- R43 – this stands for European safety requirements.
- Glass type – it can be Multilayered, laminated or tempered.
- SoundScreen – this is an acoustic glass trademark that is used by one of the manufacturers.
- Transparent 70% - this means that there must be a minimum of at least 70% of visible light transmission into through the windshield for it to be acceptable as AS1. Anything that is less than the 70% minimum means that it is not AS1 compliant, and must not be used as a windshield.
- Roman numerals – these are usually many. They are used in regards to the glass types, and here’s what they mean;
- I – this means extra strong glass
- II – standard multilayered glass.
- III – specially treated and multilayered glass.
- IV – Plastic glass.
- V – Tinted glass with less than 70% transparency and should not be used as a windshield glass.
- VI – this means that there are two layers of tinted glass, and has a transparency of less than 70%. This should not be used as a windshield glass.
- If you have a symbol of a windshield that has a raised wiper blade and some wavy arrows, this means that the parked wiper area of the car is heated.
- Serial number – There is usually a serial number on the windshield and this makes it easy to identify the product in case you need to replace the glass.
What is the difference between a laminated windshield and a double glazed windshield?
These are other names you may come across when you are shopping for a windshield. Here’s what they mean:
This is a windshield made of two pieces of glass that have an air gap between them. This is good enough for your car, but it is extremely heavy.
Laminated acoustic windshield
This is a much lighter windshield that is made of many sheets of glass which are thin and measure about 4-5 mm in diameter. The glasses are bonded together with plastic. This is the best kind of glass for your windshield.
Conclusion: On Acoustic Windshields
Recently, vehicles on the road and getting more and more advanced. Consumers are actually looking for cars that have plenty of features to make driving easier and more comfortable.
As the parts get more advanced, the prices are also higher. Acoustic windshields is one of these new inventions that make cars extremely expensive, but this is one feature that is well worth your money.
Now, if your vehicle has an acoustic windshield, you must be extra careful when you take it for repairs because the repair shop needs to know this.
Ensure to let your dealer know that you want the same exact one to be replaced, as sometimes they may choose to use the regular windshields so they can save on the cost.
There is no question that the new technologies are designed to make a vehicle more reliable, and extremely dependable, and noise reduction is a feature you will appreciate once you own an acoustic windshield.