BS in Materials Engineering
Materials Engineering Department
Jean L. Lee
The purpose of this project is to aid the Cal Poly Robert E. Kennedy library in modifying the “fishbowl” study spaces to more effectively maintain the desirable sound that is generated within the fishbowls while avoiding the entrance and exit of excess noise to and from the fishbowls. A collaboration between the Materials Engineering Department and the Architecture Department provided the combined expertise needed to design, test, and install a prototype acoustic treatment in fishbowl 216-R in consultation with the Cal Poly Library as the voice of the customer. The fishbowl’s undesirable acoustic properties can be attributed to the hard surfaces within the fishbowl and the large air gap between the top of the walls of the fishbowl and the ceiling of the room. Working with industry standard sound measurement equipment and noise pollution expertise provided by Dr. Tracy Thatcher of the Environmental Engineering Department, wool felt was chosen and found to be a material satisfactory in improving fishbowl sound quality. The felt reduced reverberation within the fishbowl by about 0.1 seconds. With the help of the Architecture Department, the wool felt was incorporated into a fishbowl to provide both an acoustically effective and aesthetically pleasing treatment. The prototype acoustic treatment will be installed in fishbowl 216-R during finals week of the Spring 2017 quarter.