Certain materials have a very high internal surface area featuring millions of micropores. At this scale, Van der Waals forces draw air molecules to the surface, causing those molecules to pack more tightly than they would outside the material.
This means that the material can “breathe in” and “breathe out” unfeasible amounts of air as pressure rises and falls. And when the molecules are adsorbed, they stop imparting pressure to their neighbours. In effect, they disappear.
When air molecules “disappear” under pressure, then pressure doesn’t build up like it should. Air springs become softer. Loudspeakers behave as if they are larger. And acoustic materials behave as if they were thicker.
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