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Generation and Propagation of Sound in Solids and Fluids – Modern Analysis Methods in Acoustics

A Synopsis and Copy of Published Papers from a NAFEMS Seminar held in November 2012, Wiesbaden Germany 


The subject of vibro-acoustic analysis addresses the integrity and functional performance of products in response to the interaction between the vibrations of solids in a fluid. This is of interest to assess a variety of performance criteria across industry sectors. In transport industries, automotive, rail, aircraft and shipping there is the need to minimise the noise level from structure interaction with air in the passenger compartment and noise levels emitted from engines and exhaust systems to provide acceptable passenger comfort. The vibro-acoustic excitation of large light weight panels and curved shells used in the space industry,launch vehicle structures and satellite structures, are a significant environment to be considered with respect to structural integrity of the components and the random environment to which the panel mounted equipments are subsequently exposed. The assessment of vibro-acoustic excitation is of importance to defence systems to reduce radiated sound to remain undetected and secure, submarines for example. To provide enhanced environments civil engineering needs to provide effective barriers to the transmission of noise from transport systems. The assessment of vibro-acoustic environments is also important for biological systems hearing aids for example and to enhance the performance of consumer goods such as mobile phones and music sound systems.

Prior to the development of computer based methods, Finite Element Method, Boundary Element Method and Statistical Energy Analysis for example, the assessment of acoustic excitation of structures and wave propagation was performed using classical methods or appropriate industry based design codes the application of which can be found in a number of reference sources, for example.  

  • Engineering Science Data Unit, ESDU, which provides a number of data items specifically on various aspects of acoustic analysis. 

  • Vibration Analysis for Electronic Equipment by Dave S. Steinberg.

  • Spacecraft Structures and Mechanisms – From Concept to Launch by Thomas P. Sarafin and Wiley J. Larson. 

  • ESA PSS-03-204 Structural Acoustics Design Manual, ESA-ESTEC.

The continued improvement of computer systems, processing speed, memory and disk resource, in combination with the growing need to investigate improvements in product performance and reduce the design cycle time has facilitated the development of new methods contributing to increased application of analysis of vibro-acoustic excitation across  range of analysis types  and frequency range of interest.

Compared to the now routine application of finite element analysis methods, linear static, modal analysis and frequency response analysis in product design, founded on significant heritage of proven application, the range of vibro-acoustic methods suited to the scope of requirements across industry sectors may be considered immature. The methods may rely on empirical and physical test data  as well as mathematical models of the environment and the structural response therefore the prediction techniques should be used with due care and with an understanding of their purpose and limitations.

Engineers wishing to undertake vibro-acoustic analysis may find information and example applications specific to the analysis requirements of their industry by consulting proceedings from seminars, conferences, workshops or training provided  by  a variety of organisations, software vendors, industry specific or independent organisations, NAFEMS, and academic institutions. 

This document provides a synopsis of the NAFEMS Seminar, Generation and Propagation of Sound in Solids and Fluids Modern Analysis Methods in Acoustics held in Wiesbaden in November 2012 including a summary of the industry sectors presenting information, methods used and copies of the presented papers. 


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NAFEMS Seminar Proceedings

Published December 2013

Softback, 152 pages