Up on the roof

Dean Palmer reports on an elastomeric laminate that cuts the noise from rain when fitted to polycarbonate conservatory roofs

Noisy conservatories could be a thing of the past, thanks to an elastomeric sheet that can be retrofitted to polycarbonate roofs – cutting the noise of rain or hail by up to 90%. Quietguard has been developed over the last two and a half years, by a North Wales company of the same name. The silicone sheet is compression moulded or injection moulded into laminated sheets, then retrofitted onto polycarbonate conservatory roofs. The material could be used on any type of polycarbonate roof – be it in boats, caravans, motor homes or domestic housing. Quietguard’s inventor and managing director Anthony Paul Burden told Eureka: “It’s a simple, effective technology that allows conservatory owners to enhance their investment for new or existing structures.” With technical advice from Bolton-based plastics specialist firm GE Silicones, Burden has perfected the product. It uses platinum-catalysed silicone that is designated 50 shore A rubber and offers a 20-30 year lifespan for the sheeting. The sheeting can be compression or injection moulded. Its exposed surface has an array of projections such as peaks, domes or ribs that vary in size from 3.5mm to 6mm to suit the diameter of rain drops. These projections break up the droplets before completion of impact, spreading the generation of noise and reducing its intensity. The sheet can also be coated with a colour-change material, such as a photochromic, thermochromic or electrochromic pigment, ink or dye. Polycarbonate acts as a ‘drum skin’ – especially the most popular 10-16mm sheets – when rained on. One way of reducing noise is to switch to glass, but this is far more expensive. Another is to increase the thickness of the sheet to 35-60mm. But these thicker sections require different fixture systems, are still noisy and are more expensive. “Our technology suppresses the energy of the rain or hail before it can transmit through the polycarbonate surface as sound,” says Burden. “The rubber elastomer sheet reduces this noise by up to 90%.” The silicone has an adhesive backing. Burden plans to distribute the product as a rubber tape or tile that can be fitted at the manufacturing stage, or as a retrofit. Besides reducing noise levels, there are other benefits.