Compressed air noise reductions from using advanced air gun nozzles in research and development environments

Kurt Prieve, Amanda Rice, Peter C. Raynor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The aims of this study were to evaluate sound levels produced by compressed air guns in research and development (R&D) environments, replace conventional air gun models with advanced noise-reducing air nozzles, and measure changes in sound levels to assess the effectiveness of the advanced nozzles as engineering controls for noise. Ten different R&D manufacturing areas that used compressed air guns were identified and included in the study. A-weighted sound level and Z-weighted octave band measurements were taken simultaneously using a single instrument. In each area, three sets of measurements, each lasting for 20 sec, were taken 1 m away and perpendicular to the air stream of the conventional air gun while a worker simulated typical air gun work use. Two different advanced noise-reducing air nozzles were then installed. Sound level and octave band data were collected for each of these nozzles using the same methods as for the original air guns. Both of the advanced nozzles provided sound level reductions of about 7 dBA, on average. The highest noise reductions measured were 17.2 dBA for one model and 17.7 dBA for the other. In two areas, the advanced nozzles yielded no sound level reduction, or they produced small increases in sound level. The octave band data showed strong similarities in sound level among all air gun nozzles within the 10–1,000 Hz frequency range. However, the advanced air nozzles generally had lower noise contributions in the 1,000–20,000 Hz range. The observed decreases at these higher frequencies caused the overall sound level reductions that were measured. Installing new advanced noise-reducing air nozzles can provide large sound level reductions in comparison to existing conventional nozzles, which has direct benefit for hearing conservation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-639
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This projectwas funded by the3MCorporate R&DServicesLab Safety Department

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 JOEH, LLC.


  • Compressed air
  • Noise
  • Nozzles
  • Research & development
  • Sound level


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