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Published by: Djoko Untoro Suwarno on May 23, 2012
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thermal or electric motors. Under certain conditions, the sound emitted by a
musical instrument can also be considered as a quasi periodic excitation. In room
acoustics engineering, the first step for the designer is to investigate the room
response to a sine excitation and to try to make it as independent as possible of the
frequency; then, the response to transient excitations is examined, sometimes with
much less precise methods, the attention being mainly focused on the propagation
of the wave fronts.

Assume that the source F(M, t) has a harmonic time dependency and is
represented by a complex function f(M)e -~t, where t is ~ 1. The physical quantity
is given by

F(M, t)= ~[f(M)e -~~


It is shown that the acoustic pressure can equally be represented by a complex
function p(M)e -~t which is related to the physical pressure by


t) = ~.[p(M)e -~t]


The functions f(M) and p(M) are respectively called the complex amplitudes of the
source and of the sound pressure. It must be kept in mind that a microphone or the
ear is sensitive to the function ~b(M, t) and not to its complex representation.
Finally, the particle velocity I?(M, t) is associated to a complex function O(M)e -~t

IT(M, t) -- ~[~7(M)e -"~


Expressions (2.4) and (2.5) are introduced into the wave equation (2.1) to get

(lO )

A -- ~

~[p(M)e-"~q = ~[~M)e -"~

c 20t 2

Elementary considerations show that this equation is satisfied if and only if the
complex pressure amplitude is a solution of

(A + k2)p(M)=f(M),

MEf~, k 2=-



This equation is called the Helmholtz equation.

2.1.3. Boundary condition for harmonic regimes

A perfectly rigid boundary remains characterized by the Neumann condition; the
liquid-gas interface is still described by a Dirichlet condition.
In many practical situations of an absorbing boundary, it is possible to adopt the
Robin boundary condition which we write:

Op(M) ~k

0~(M) ~(M)

p(M) = 0,

M E cr




This relationship states that, at any point M E a, the normal component of the
acoustic pressure gradient (which is proportional to the normal component of the
particle velocity) is proportional to the acoustic pressure itself. The quantity ((M),
which can vary from point to point, is called the specific normal impedance of the
boundary; its inverse is called the specific normal admittance. The Robin boundary
condition is, like the Neumann and the Dirichlet ones, a local condition. It
describes accurately the physical phenomenon as far as the acoustic wave is rapidly
attenuated inside the boundary material in the tangential direction. This is, in
particular, the behaviour of the porous materials commonly used as acoustic

The specific normal impedance is a complex quantity the real part of which is
necessarily positive. Indeed, let us calculate the energy flux 6E which flows across a
boundary element dcr during one period T. It is given by

~E- d~ ~(pe-"~

,Te -~') dt


The momentum equation expresses the particle velocity in terms of the pressure

-~po~7 + Vp - 0

Let/) and ( (resp. b and ~) be the real parts (resp. the imaginary parts) of the
acoustic pressure p and of the impedance (. One obtains


,7. Vp- -----~ [(b~ + ~) + ~(~ -b~)]


or equivalently




poco I~12 [(b~ + ~) + ~(~- p~)]

Using this last equality, the energy flux is written

6E =

(b~( + P~) cos2 ~t + b(/3~ - P~) sin2 a;t

p0~01 ~ [2

+ [2b/~ + (/3 2 _/) 2)~] sin ~t cos a;t} dt


The integration interval being one period, the last term has a zero contribution. The
first two terms lead to





2poco I C I 2

If the boundary element de absorbs energy, the flux 6E which flows across it must
be positive. This implies that the real part 4 of the specific normal impedance is

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