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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Acoustics (PHYS10020)

This course will be closed from 31 July 2012

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionAn introductory course on audible acoustic waves in air. The first six weeks of the course consist of twelve lectures. The basic theory of sound waves is reviewed and applied to a discussion of plane waves in pipes. The principles of microphone and loudspeaker technology are outlined. A brief study of the response of the human ear to sound leads to a review of methods of evaluating the loudness of different types of sound. The lectures conclude with surveys of two areas of great practical importance: the measurement of environmental noise and the study of the acoustical properties of rooms and concert halls.

In the remaining weeks of the semester, each student takes part in two short group projects. The first involves site visits to local concert halls and other interior spaces to measure and analyse reverberant sound; the second is concerned with the recording and evaluation of noise. Near the end of the semester, there is a class conference, in which the projects are presented and discussed. Each student writes a brief report on the two projects.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 credit points accrued in courses of SCQF Level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2011/12 Semester 1, Part-year visiting students only (VV1) WebCT enabled:  No Quota:  0
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
King's BuildingsLecture1-11 12:10 - 13:00
King's BuildingsLecture1-11 12:10 - 13:00
First Class First class information not currently available
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours:Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course it is intended that a student will be able to:
1)derive the three-dimensional linear acoustic wave equation, understanding and explaining the assumptions
and approximations made in the derivation
2)write down expressions representing plane and spherical sound waves, and show that they are solutions of the acoustic wave equation
3)define specific acoustic impedance, and derive the specific acoustic impedance for plane and spherical sound waves
4)discuss the propagation of plane waves in cylindrical pipes, including branching pipes, and derive formulae giving the reflection and transmission coefficients at a discontinuity in a cylindrical pipe
5)describe the scientific principles, basic technology and performance of common types of microphone and loudspeaker
6)understand and describe the basic principles and commonly used techniques of sound analysis and synthesis
7)outline the general features of the response of the human ear, explaining what is meant by equal loudness contours, critical bands, and masking, and defining Sound Pressure Level, the phon scale of Loudness Level and the sone scale of Loudness
8)define the reverberation time and the absorption of a hall, and state and use a formula giving the
reverberation time as a function of the volume and the absorption of the hall
9)discuss the major parameters other than reverberation time which determine the musical quality of a concert hall
10)calibrate and use a sound level meter to measure noise levels in a variety of environments
11)measure and comment on the reverberation times at standard frequencies in a variety of acoustic spaces
Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 65%
Project work, 35%
Visiting Student Variant Assessment
Degree Examination, 65%
Project work, 35%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserProf Murray Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 5262
Course secretaryMiss Jennifer Wood
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218
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© Copyright 2011 The University of Edinburgh - 16 January 2012 6:40 am