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Basic Principles of
Engineering Acoustics
Topics:
Basic Concepts
Sound Waves in Fluids
Sound Waves in Solids
Wave Equation
2
Basics of Sound:
Sound is a sensation of acoustic waves (disturbance/pressure
fluctuations setup in a medium)
Unpleasant, unwanted, disturbing sound is generally treated
as Noise and is a highly subjective feeling
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Sound is a disturbance that propagates through a medium
having properties of inertia ( mass ) and elasticity. The
medium by which the audible waves are transmitted is air.
Basically sound propagation is simply the molecular
transfer of motional energy. Hence it cannot pass through
vacuum.
Frequency: Number of pressure
cycles / time
also called pitch of sound (in Hz)
Guess how much is particle
displacement??
8e-3nm to 0.1mm
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The disturbance gradually diminishes in strength as it travels
outwards, since the initial amount of energy is gradually
spreading over a wider area. If the disturbance is confined to
one dimension ( tube / thin rod), it does not diminish as it
travels ( except for the loss of acoustic energy at the walls of
the tube).
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Basic Concepts
Sound is a pressure wave that propagates through an elastic media.
It is molecular transfer of motion - energy cannot transfer through vacuum.
Elasticity and inertia are the desired characteristics of the medium.
Fundamental mechanisms responsible for sound generation are
i) Vibration of solid bodies-structure born sound.
ii) Turbulence, unsteady flow induced sound- aerodynamic sound.
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Structure borne sound - region of interest is surrounding fluid.
The source which generates sound is external to the medium.
Aerodynamic sound - sources of sound are not readily identifiable.
Region of interest is within fluid or external to it.
Basic Concepts
7
Speed of Sound
The rate at which the disturbance (sound wave) travels
Property of the medium
0
0
P
c

=
RT
c
M

=
Alternatively,
c Speed of sound P
0
,
0
- Pressure and density
- Ratio of specific heats R Universal gas constant
T Temperature in
0
KM Molecular weight
Speed of Light: 299,792,458 m/s Speed of sound in air: 344 m/s
2
1
0
273
1

+ =
c
T
c c
s m c / 5 . 343
25
=
s m c / 355
40
=
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Quantifying Sound
Root Mean Square Value (RMS) of Sound Pressure
Mean energy associated with sound waves is its
fundamental feature
energy is proportional to square of amplitude
1
2
2
0
1
[ ( )]
T
p p t dt
T

=

0.707 p a =
Acoustic Variables: Pressure and Particle Velocity
(for a harmonic wave)
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Range of RMS pressure fluctuations that a human ear can
detect extends from
0.00002 N/m
2
(20 Pa) (threshold of hearing)
to
20 N/m
2
(sensation of pain) 1000000 times larger
Atmospheric Pressure is 10
5
N/m
2
so the peak pressure associated with loudest sound
is 5000 times smaller than atmospheric pressure
The large range of associated pressure is one of the reasons we
need alternate scale.
RANGE OF PRESSURE
10
Sound Pressure Level
20Log
10
P
1
= 20Log
10
P
2
+ 20Log
10
n
(1/2)
20Log
10
(P
1
/P
2
) = 20Log
10
n
(1/2)
20Log
10
n
(1/2)
is still in deciBel, defined as Sound Pressure Level
A dB value is always relative to a reference. For Sound Pressure
Level (SPL) in acoustics, the reference pressure P
2
=2e-5 N/m
2
or
20Pa.
SPL=20Log
10
(P
1
/2e-5) P
1
is RMS pressure
n: Ratio of sound powers
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Corresponding to audio range of Sound Pressure
2e-5 N/m
2
- 0 dB
20 N/m
2
- 120 dB
Normal SPL encountered are between 35 dB to 90 dB
For underwater acoustics different reference pressure is used
P
ref
= 0.1 N/m
2
It is customary to specify SPL as 52dB re 20Pa
Sound Pressure Level
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13
Sound Intensity
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Sound Intensity
A plane progressive sound wave traveling in a medium (say
along a tube) contains energy and,
rate of transfer of energy per unit cross-sectional area is
defined as Sound Intensity
0
1

T
I p u dt
T
=

2
0
P
I
c
=
10
10
ref
I
IL Log
I
=
2
1 0 1
10 10
2
0
/( )
20 10
2 5 (2 5) /( )
p c p
SPL Log dB Log dB
e e c

= =

12 12
10 10 10
12 2 2
0 0
10 10
10 10 10
10 (2 5) /( ) (2 5) /( )
ref
I I
SPL Log dB Log Log
e c I e c

= = +

For air,
0
c 415Ns/m
3
so that 0.16 dB SPL IL = +
Holds true also for spherical
waves far away from source
I
ref
= 10
-12
W/m
2
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FREQUENCY & FREQUENCY BANDS
Frequency of sound ---- as important as its level
Sensitivity of ear
Sound insulation of a wall
Attenuation of silencer all vary with frequency
<20Hz 20Hz to 20000Hz > 20000Hz
Infrasonic Audio Range Ultrasonic
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Musical
Instrument
For multiple frequency composition sound, frequency spectrum is
obtained through Fourier analysis
Pure tone
Frequency Composition of Sound
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A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e

(
d
B
)
A
1
f
1
Frequency (Hz)
Complex Noise Pattern
No discrete tones- infinite frequencies
Better to group them in frequency bands total strength in
each band gives measure of sound
Octave Bands commonly used (Octave: Halving / doubling)
produced by exhaust of Jet Engine, water at base of
Niagara Falls, hiss of air/steam jets, etc
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OCTAVE BANDS
1= 1
1x2=2
2x2=4
4x2=8
8x2=16
16x2=32
32x2=64
64x2=128
128x2=256
256x2=512
512x2=1024
10 bands(Octaves)
For convenience Internationally accepted ratio is
1:1000 (IEC Recommendation 225)
Center frequency of one octave band is 1000Hz
Other center frequencies are obtained by continuously
dividing/multiplying by 10
3/10
starting at 1000Hz
Next lower center frequency = 1000/ 10
3/10
500Hz
Next higher center frequency = 1000*10
3/10
2000Hz
c U L
f f f =
International Electrotechnical Commission
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Octave Filters
20
Octave and 1/3
rd
Octave
band filters
mostly to analyse relatively
smooth varying spectra
If tones are present,
1/10
th
Octave or Narrow-band
filter be used
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For most noise, the instantaneous spectral density
(t) is a time varying quantity, so that in this
expression is average value taken over a suitable
period so that =< (t)>

So, many acoustic filters & meters have both fast (1/8s) and slow (1s)
integration times (For impulsive sounds some sound meters have I
characteristics with 35ms time constant)
I
n
t
e
n
s
i
t
y
I
f
1 Frequency (Hz) f
2
INTENSITY SPECTRAL DENSITY
Acoustic Intensity for most sound
is non-uniformly distributed over time and frequency
Convenient to describe the distribution through spectral density
2
1

f
f
I
f
I df

is the intensity within the frequency band f=1Hz


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DeciBel measure of is the Intensity Spectrum Level (ISL)
.1
10log
ref
Hz
ISL
I

=



If the intensity is constant over the frequency
bandwidth w (= f
2
- f
1
),
then total intensity is just I= w and
and Intensity Level for the band is
1 .
1
w
I Hz
Hz
=
10log IL ISL w = +
Intensity Spectrum Level (ISL)
If the ISL has variation within the frequency band (w),
each band is subdivided into smaller bands so that in each band ISL
changes by no more than 1-2dB
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IL is calculated and converted to Intensities I
i
and then total
intensity level IL
total
is
10log
i
i
total
ref
I
IL
I





=


10log
i i i
IL ISL w = +
as SPL and IL are numerically same,
10log SPL PSL w = +
PSL (Pressure Spectrum Level) is defined over a 1Hz interval so the SPL of a tone is same as its PSL
10
10
10log 10
i
IL
total
i
IL

=


10log
i
i
total
ref
I
IL
I





=


Can be
written as
Thus, when intensity level in each band is known, total intensity level can be estimated
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Combining Band Levels and Tones
SPL = PSL + 10 log w
For pure tones, PSL = SPL
SPL of the two tones is 63 & 60 dB
For the broadband noise,
SPL = PSL + 10 log w
= 40 + 10 log (600 -500)
SPL = 60 dB
Thus the overall band level
= Band level of broadband noise + Level of tones
= 60 + 63 + 60 = 64.7 + 60
66 dB
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Sound Power
Intensity : Average Rate of energy transfer per unit area
2
2
W/m
4
W
I
r
=
2
2 2
0
4 4 Watt
p
W r I r
c

= =
Sound Power Level:
10
10log
ref
W
SWL
W
=
Reference Power W
ref
=10
-12
Watt
dB
Peak Power output:
Female voice 0.002W, Male voice 0.004W,
Soft whisper 10
-9
W, An average shout 0.001W
Large orchestra 10-70W, Large Jet at takeoff 100,000W
15,000,000 speakers speaking simultaneously generate 1HP
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Figure: Gas pipe line model which gives both air and structure born sound
Basic Concepts
27
Engineering Acoustics
Topics:
Basic Concepts
Sound Waves in Fluids
Sound Waves in Solids
Wave Equation
28
While sound propagating through gases and liquids, longitudinal elastic
waves can exist.
Longitudinal waves are characterised by particle velocities parallel to the
direction of propagation.
Figure: Longitudinal waves
Sound Waves in Fluids
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Longitudinal waves
i) Plane waves
ii) Spherical waves
iii) Cylindrical waves
Plane waves
Plane waves are characterised by
Points of same sound pressure (for example, in the cross-section of
the duct) form parallel planes, called wave front
Points of same particle velocity form parallel planes
Example: Infinite duct with harmonically moving piston at one end
Sound Waves in Fluids
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Figure: plane longitudinal wave propagation for a sinusoidal disturbance
Sound Waves in Fluids
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Figure: Plane waves in infinite duct
Wave length is given by
Sound Waves in Fluids
32
Wave propagation without reflection i.e. for free longitudinal waves, sound
pressure p and particle velocity are in phase
Where is the density in the undisturbed medium.
c is the speed of sound.
Time averaged sound power is given by
Sound intensity is
Thus for plane wave, sound intensity is proportional to the mean square
value of the pressure.
Sound Waves in Fluids
33
Spherical waves
Spherical waves will be produced
If source is spherical
Surface vibrates with same amplitude and phase at all points
If source characteristic dimension is small compared to sound wavelength
Figure: spherical wave propagation
Figure: sound passing through a hole small
in diameter compared to
generates spherical wave
Sound Waves in Fluids
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Examples are loud speakers and outlets of exhaust of outlet pipes etc.
With increasing radius, the curvature of wave front decreases can be
approximated as a plane wave front
Spherical sound pressure wave can be locally approximated as a plane waves
Time averaged sound intensity is
where is the mechanical power emitted into the medium by the source.
Sound Waves in Fluids
35
If the source is an infinite long cylinder, and entire surface vibrates with
same amplitude and phase
Cylindrical waves will be generated
Figure: Infinite long cylinder generating
cylindrical waves
Sound intensity can be expressed as
Sound Waves in Fluids
where W is the mechanical power per unit length emitted into the medium
by the line source.
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Engineering Acoustics
Topics:
Basic Concepts
Sound Waves in Fluids
Sound Waves in Solids
Wave Equation
37
Solid media can sustain both normal and shear stresses
Not only longitudinal but transverse waves also exists.
Both waves in combination can built bending waves
Figure: longitudinal waves- particles move along
direction of propagation
Figure: Transverse waves- particles move
perpendicular to direction of propagation
Sound Waves in Solids
38
Longitudinal waves in solids
A pure translational wave (P-wave) can only
exist in an infinite solid.
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Quasi-Longitudinal waves in bars
The speed of sound in a bar is given by:
, where E is Youngs modulus.

d
c
L
c
L

L
U n d e f o r m e d b e a m
E x p a n s i o n
C o m p r e s s i o n
L
E
c

=
,
5100 m/s
L steel
c =
40
Transversal waves in
solids
Wave Propagation
Particle displacement
41
A pure transversal (S or shear) wave
The wave speed is given by: , where G
is the shear modulus.
S
G
c

=
,
3100 m/s
S steel
c =
An infinite solid
42
Mixed waves in solids
A pure transversal or longitudinal wave only exists in an
infinite solid medium. In plate or beam structures these
wave types are mixed and form different waves types.
One important is bending waves involving a pure bending
deformation of the cross-section.
43
Bending waves in thin plates
The wave speed for bending waves c
B
is frequency
dependent:
where is Poissons ratio and h is the thickness
of the plate.
This means that different harmonics will travel
will different speed, i.e., a given wave form will
change its shape over time. This phenomenon is
called dispersion.
2
4
2
( )
12(1 )
B
Eh
c

=

44
plate
air
Bending waves couple well to a
surrounding medium and can radiate
sound
plat
e
45
Engineering Acoustics
Topics:
Basic Concepts
Sound Waves in Fluids
Sound Waves in Solids
Wave Equation
46
Assumptions for deriving wave equation
The medium is homogenous and isotropic, i.e., it has the same properties at all
points and in all directions.
The medium is linearly elastic, i.e., Hookes law applies.
Viscous losses are negligible.
Heat transfer in the medium can be ignored, i.e., changes of state can be assumed
to be adiabatic.
Gravitational effects can be ignored, i.e., pressure and density are assumed to be
constant in the undisturbed medium.
The acoustic disturbances are small, which permits linearization of the relations
used.
Wave Equation
47
Equation of continuity
The following quantities are considered:
Pressure:
Wave Equation
48
the equation of continuity gives a relation between density and particle
velocity.
We consider in and outflow of mass in the x- direction at a given point
in time, for a volume element V =xyz fixed in space,
Wave Equation
49
Figure: Mass flow in the x-direction through a volume element fixed in space.
Wave Equation
50
the mass in the volume element t is
the mass flow into the element is
the mass flow out is
The net flow in the element is therefore
Must equal the mass change
Wave Equation
51
for small variations about the undisturbed equilibrium state
This can be simplified to
In the generalized three dimensional case
Wave Equation
52
the del operator
simplified expression of the continuity equation
Considering undisturbed density which is independent of time and position
The linearzed equation is given by
Wave Equation
53
Equation of motion
Consider a specific fluid particle, with a fixed mass
And a fixed volume
Figure: Force in the x-direction on a particular fluid particle moving with the medium.
Wave Equation
54
The force in the x-direction is
Here is constant
Wave Equation
55
In three dimensions, the force vector becomes
The del operator is
Using the relation
Wave Equation
56
At time t
position
velocity is
At a later instant
Position is
Velocity is
Acceleration can be written as
Wave Equation
57
By using Taylor series
The acceleration of the fluid particle becomes,
Wave Equation
58
With simplifying notation this is
For acoustic fields with small disturbances
Making use of above equation, and
Wave Equation
59
the equation of motion can be formulated as
then the linear, inviscid equation of motion is
Wave Equation
60
The homogenous linearized wave equation
Wave Equation
61
Wave Equation
This table is reproduced from the book: Sound and Vibration, MWL, KTH