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D. W. Herrin, T. W. Wu, and A. F. Seybert

Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky

1 INTRODUCTION Both the boundary element method (BEM) and the nite element method (FEM) approximate the solution in a piecewise fashion. The chief difference between the two methods is that the BEM solves the acoustical quantities on the boundary of the acoustical domain (or air) instead of in the acoustical domain itself. The solution within the acoustical domain is then determined based on the boundary solution. This is accomplished by expressing the acoustical variables within the acoustical domain as a surface integral over the domain boundary. The BEM has been used to successfully predict (1) the transmission loss of complicated exhaust components, (2) the sound radiation from engines and compressors, and (3) passenger compartment noise. In this chapter, a basic theoretical development of the BEM is presented, and then each step of the process for conducting an analysis is summarized. Three practical examples illustrate the reliability and application of the method to a wide range of real-world problems. 2 BEM THEORY An important class of problems in acoustics is the propagation of sound waves at a constant frequency at any point . For this case, the sound pressure P = uctuates sinusoidally with frequency so that P pei t where p is the complex amplitude of the sound pressure uctuation. The complex exponential allows us to take into account sound pressure magnitude and phase from point-to-point in the medium. The governing differential equation for linear acoustics in the frequency domain for p is the Helmholtz equation:

Table 1 Boundary Conditions for Helmholtz Equation Boundary Condition Dirichlet Neumann Robin Physical Quantity Sound pressure (pe ) Normal velocity (vn ) Acoustic impedance (Za ) Mathematical Relation p = pe p = ivn n p 1 = i p n Za

Fluid V S

^ n

r P

vn and p

Figure 1 Schematic showing the variables for the direct boundary element method.

2 p + k2 p = 0


radiation condition.1 3 The variables are identied in Fig. 1. If complex exponential notation is adopted, the kernel in Eq. (2) or the Greens function is G(r) = eikr 4r (3)

where k is the wavenumber (k = /c). The boundary conditions for the Helmholtz equation are summarized in Table 1. For exterior problems, the boundary integral equation1 C(P )p(P ) =

G(r) p G(r) p dS n n


can be developed using the Helmholtz equation [Eq. (1)], Greens second identity, and the Sommerfeld

where r is the distance between the collocation point P and the integration point Q on the surface. Equation (3) is the expression for a point monopole source in three dimensions. The lead coefcient C(P ) in Eq. (2) is a constant that depends on the location of the collocation point P . For interior problems, the direct BEM formulation is identical to that shown in Eq. (2) except that the lead coefcient C(P ) is replaced by C 0 (P ), which is dened differently.1,2 Table 2 shows how both lead coefcients are dened

Handbook of Noise and Vibration Control. Edited by Malcolm J. Crocker Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Table 2 Lead Coefcient Denitions at Different Locations
Location of P In acoustical domain V Outside acoustical domain V Smooth boundary Corners/edges 1


C(P) 1 0
1 2

C0 (P) 1 0
1 2

1 4 r


1 4 r


depending on whether the problem is an interior or exterior one. For direct or collocation approaches,1 19 the boundary must be closed, and the primary variables are the sound pressure and normal velocity on the side of the boundary that is in contact with the uid. The normal velocity (vn ) can be related to the p/n term in Eq. (2) via the momentum equation that is expressed as p = i vn (4) n where is the mean density of the uid. When using the direct BEM, there is a distinction between an interior and exterior problem. However, there is no such distinction using indirect BEM approaches.20 28 Both sides of the boundary are considered simultaneously even though only one side of the boundary may be in contact with the uid. As Fig. 2 indicates, the boundary consists of the inside (S1 ) and outside surfaces (S2 ), and both sides are analyzed at the same time. In short, boundary integral equations like Eq. (2) can be written on both sides of the boundary and then summed resulting in an indirect boundary integral formulation that can be expressed as p(P ) =

In Eq. (5), the primary variables are the single( dp ) and double-layer (p ) potentials. The singlelayer potential ( dp ) is the difference in the normal gradient of the pressure and can be related to the normal velocities (vn1 and vn2 ), and the double-layer potential (p ) is the difference in acoustic pressure (p1 and p2 ) across the boundary of the BEM model. Since S1 is identical to S2 , the symbol S is used for both in Eq. (5) and the normal vector is dened as pointing away from the acoustical domain. Table 3 summarizes how the single- and doublelayer potentials are related to the normal velocity and sound pressure. If a Galerkin discretization is adopted, the boundary element matrices will be symmetric, and the solution of the matrices will be faster than the direct method provided a direct solver is used.21 Additionally, the symmetric matrices are preferable for structural-acoustical coupling.25 The boundary conditions for the indirect BEM are developed by relating the acoustic pressure, normal velocity, and normal impedance to the single- and double-layer potentials. More thorough descriptions for the direct and indirect BEM are presented by Wu3 and Vlahopolous,27 respectively. It should be mentioned that the differences between the so-called direct and indirect approaches have blurred recently. In fact, high-level studies by Wu29 and Chen et al.30,31 combine both procedures into one set of equations. Chen et al. developed a direct scheme using Galerkin discretization, which generated symmetric matrices. However, these state-of-the-art approaches are not used in commercial software at the time of this writing.
3 MESH PREPARATION Building the mesh is the rst step in using the BEM to solve a problem. Figure 3 shows a BEM model used for predicting the sound radiation from a gear housing. The geometry of the housing is represented by a BEM mesh, a series of points called nodes on the surface of the body that are connected to form elements of either quadrilateral or triangular shape. Most commercially available pre- and postprocessing programs developed for the FEM may also be used for constructing BEM meshes. In many instances, a solid model can be built, and the surface of the solid can be meshed automatically creating a mesh representative of the boundary. Alternatively, a wire frame or surface model of the boundary could be created using computer-aided design (CAD) software and then meshed. Regardless of the way the mesh is prepared, shell elements are typically used in the nite element

G(r) dp

G(r) p dS n


V S1 Vn1, p1

^ n

r P

Table 3 Relationship of Single- and Double-Layer Potentials to Boundary Conditions Potential Symbol dp p Mathematical Relation p1 p2 n n p1 p2

Vn2, p2

Fluid on One or Both Sides

Single layer Double layer

Figure 2 Schematic showing the variables for the indirect boundary element method.



Figure 3

Boundary element model of a gear housing.

preprocessor, and the nodes and elements are transferred to the boundary element software. The material properties and thickness of the elements are irrelevant since the boundary elements only bound the domain. Sometimes a structural nite element mesh is used as a starting point for creating the boundary element mesh. Sometimes a boundary element mesh can be obtained by simply skinning the structural nite element mesh. However, the structural nite element mesh is often excessively ne for the subsequent acoustical boundary element analyses, leading to excessive CPU (central processing unit) time. Commercially available software packages have been developed to skin and then coarsen structural nite element meshes.32,33 These packages can automatically remove one-dimensional elements like bars and beams, and skin three-dimensional elements like tetrahedrons with two-dimensional boundary elements. Then, the skinned model can be coarsened providing the user with the desired BEM mesh. An example of a skinned and coarsened model is shown in Figure 4.

It is well known that the BEM can be CPU intensive if the model has a large number of nodes (i.e., degrees of freedom). The solution time is roughly proportional to the number of nodes cubed for a BEM analysis, although iterative solvers may reduce the solution time. Nevertheless, if solution time is an issue and it normally is, it will be advantageous to minimize the number of nodes in a BEM model. Unfortunately, the accuracy of the analysis depends on having a sufcient number of nodes in the model. Thus, most engineers try to straddle the line between having a mesh that will yield accurate results yet can be solved quickly. The general rule of thumb is that six linear or three parabolic elements are needed per acoustic wavelength. However, these guidelines depend on the geometry, boundary conditions, desired accuracy, integration quadrature, and solver algorithm.34,35 Therefore, these guidelines should not be treated as strict rules. One notable exception to the guidelines is the case where the normal velocity or sound pressure on the boundary is complicated. Accordingly, the boundary mesh and the interpolation scheme will need to be sufcient to represent the complexity of this boundary condition. This may require a much ner mesh than the guidelines would normally dictate. Regardless of the element size, the shape of the element appears to have little impact on the accuracy of the analysis, and triangular boundary elements are nearly as accurate as their quadrilateral counterparts.34 One way to minimize the number of nodes without losing any precision is to utilize symmetry when appropriate. The common free space Greens function [Eq. (3)] was used for the derivation earlier in the chapter. However, the Greens function can take different forms if it is convenient to do so. For example, the half-space Greens function could be used for modeling a hemispace radiation problem.


FEM Model
Figure 4 point.

BEM Model

Schematic showing a boundary element model that was created using the nite element model as a starting



TL (dB)

Similarly, different Greens functions can be used for the axisymmetric and two-dimensional cases.2 Symmetry planes may also be used to model rigid oors or walls provided that the surface is innite or can be approximated as such. The direction of the element normal to the surface is another important aspect of mesh preparation. The element normal direction is determined by the sequence of the nodes dening a particular element. If the sequence is dened in a counterclockwise fashion, the normal direction will point outward. Figure 5 illustrates this for a quadrilateral element. The element normal direction should be consistent throughout the boundary element mesh. If the direct BEM is used, the normal direction should point to or away from the acoustical domain depending on the convention used by the BEM software. In most instances, adjusting the normal direction is trivial since most commercial BEM software has the built-in smarts to reverse the normal direction of a mesh or to make the normal direction consistent.
4 FLUID PROPERTY SPECIFICATION After the mesh is dened, the uid properties for the acoustical domain can be specied. The BEM assumes that the uid is a homogeneous ideal uid in the linear regime. The uid properties consist of the speed of sound and the mean density. In a BEM model, a sound-absorbing material can be modeled as either locally reacting or bulk reacting. In the local reacting case, the surface impedance is used as a boundary condition (see Table 1). In the bulk-reacting case, a multidomain36,37 or directmixed body BEM38 analysis should be performed, using bulk-reacting properties to model the absorption. Any homogeneous sound-absorbing material can be described in terms of its bulk properties. These bulk properties include both the complex density and speed of sound for a medium39 and provide an ideal mechanism for modeling the losses of a sound-absorbing material. Bulk-reacting properties are especially important for thick sections of soundabsorbing materials. As mentioned previously, the BEM assumes that the domain is homogeneous. However, a nonhomogeneous domain could be divided into several smaller
^ n

Domain 1Air

Domain 2Seat
Figure 6 Passenger compartment modeled as two separate acoustical domains.

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 500 Experiment BEM local reacting BEM bulk reacting 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Frequency (Hz)
Figure 7 Comparison of the transmission loss for a lined expansion chamber using local and bulk reacting models.

^ n

subdomains having different uid properties. Where the boundaries are joined, continuity of particle velocity and pressure is enforced. For example, the passenger compartment shown in Figure 6 could be modeled as two separate acoustical domains, one for the air and another for the seat. The seat material properties would be the complex density and speed of sound of the seat material. Another application is mufer analysis with a temperature variation. Since the temperature variations in a mufer are substantial, the speed of sound and density of the air will vary from chamber to chamber. Using a multidomain BEM, each chamber can be modeled as a separate subdomain having different uid properties. The advantage of using a bulk-reacting model is illustrated in Figure 7. BEM transmission loss predictions are compared to experimental results for a packed expansion chamber with 1-inch-thick sound-absorbing material.38 Both locally and bulk-reacting models were used to simulate the sound absorption. The results using a bulk-reacting model are superior, corresponding closely to the measured transmission loss.

Figure 5 Manner in which the normal direction is dened for a boundary element.

The boundary conditions for the BEM correspond to the Dirichlet, Neumann, and Robin conditions for

Interior (cavity) Boundary Mesh (2D surface mesh) ps


Openings Side + Side
^ n

Sound-Absorbing Material ps Noise Source vn z

vn vn z

^ n

Figure 9 Schematic showing the boundary conditions for the indirect BEM.

Figure 8 Schematic showing the boundary conditions for the direct BEM.

Zero Jump Condition


Helmholtz equation (as shown in Table 1). Figure 8 shows a boundary element domain for the direct BEM. The boundary element mesh covers the entire surface of the acoustical domain. At each node on the boundary, a Dirichlet, Neumann, or Robin boundary condition should be specied. In other words, a sound pressure, normal velocity, or surface impedance should be identied for each node. Obtaining and/or selecting these boundary conditions may be problematic. In many instances, the boundary conditions may be assumed or measured. For example, the normal velocity can be obtained by a FEM structural analysis, and the surface impedance can be measured using a twomicrophone test.40 Both the magnitude and the phase of the boundary condition are important. Most commercial BEM packages select a default zero normal velocity boundary condition (which corresponds to a rigid boundary) if the user species no other condition. The normal velocity on the boundary is often obtained from a preliminary structural nite element analysis. The frequency response can be read into BEM software as a normal velocity boundary condition. It is likely that the nodes in the FEM and BEM models are not coincident with one another. However, most commercial BEM packages can interpolate the results from the nite element mesh onto the boundary element mesh. For the indirect BEM, the boundary conditions are the differences in the pressure, normal velocity, and surface impedance across the boundary. Figure 9 illustrates the setup for an indirect BEM problem. Boundary conditions are applied to both sides of the elements. Each element has a positive and negative side that is identied by the element normal direction (see Fig. 9). Most difculties using the indirect BEM are a result of not recognizing the ramications of specifying boundary conditions on both sides of the element. To model an opening using the indirect BEM, a zero jump in pressure27,28 should be applied to the edges of the opening in the BEM mesh (Fig. 10). Most commercial BEM software has the ability to locate nodes around an opening so that the user can easily apply the zero jump in pressure. Additionally,

Figure 10 Special boundary conditions that may be used with the indirect BEM.

special treatment is important when modeling three or more surfaces that intersect (also illustrated in Fig. 10). Nodes must be duplicated along the edge and compatibility conditions must be applied.27,28 Though this seems complicated, commercial BEM software can easily detect and create these junctions applying the appropriate compatibility conditions. Many mufers utilize perforated panels as attenuation mechanisms, and these panels may be modeled by specifying the transfer impedance of the perforate.41,42 The assumption is that the particle velocity is continuous on both sides of the perforated plate but the sound pressure is not. For example, a perforated plate is shown in Fig. 11. A transfer impedance boundary condition can be dened at the perforated panel and expressed as p1 p2 (6) Ztr = vn

Perforated Plate

P1 P2 vn

Figure 11 Schematic showing the variables used to dene the transfer impedance of a perforate.


45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0


Measured BEM Perforated Tube


2000 3000 Frequency (Hz)



Figure 12 Transmission loss for a concentric tube resonator with a perforate.

where Ztr is the transfer impedance, p1 and p2 are the sound pressures on each side of the plate, and vn is the particle velocity. The transfer impedance can be measured or estimated using empirical formulas. In these empirical formulas, the transfer impedance is related to factors like the porosity, thickness, and hole diameter of a perforated plate.43,44 Figure 12 shows the transmission loss results computed using the BEM results for an expansion chamber with a perforated tube. Another useful capability is the ability to specify acoustic point sources in a BEM model. Noise sources can be modeled as a point source if they are acoustically small (i.e., the dimensions of a source are small compared to an acoustic wavelength) and omnidirectional. Both the magnitude and the phase of the point source should be specied.

a strong constraint since the pressure on that interior nodal surface is also zero for the interior problem. As the frequency increases, the problem is compounded by the fact that the eigenfrequencies and the nodal surfaces become more closely spaced. Therefore, analysts normally add CHIEF points liberally if higher frequencies are considered. Although the CHIEF method is very effective at low and intermediate frequencies, a more theoretically robust way to overcome the nonuniqueness difculty is the Burton and Miller method.5 Similarly, for an indirect BEM analysis, there is a nonexistence difculty associated with exterior radiation problems. Since there is no distinction between the interior and exterior analysis, the primary variables of the indirect BEM solution capture information on both sides of the boundary.27 At the resonance frequencies for the interior, the solution for points on the exterior is contaminated by large differences in pressure between the exterior and interior surfaces of the boundary. The nonexistence difculty can be solved by adding absorptive planes inside or by specifying an impedance boundary condition on the interior surface of the boundary.27 The lesson to be learned is that exterior radiation problems should be approached carefully. However, excellent acoustical predictions can be made using the BEM, provided appropriate precautions are taken.
7 BEM SOLUTION Even though BEM matrices are based on a surface mesh, the BEM is often computationally and memory intensive. Both the indirect and direct procedures produce dense matrices that are not sparse, as is typical of nite element matrices. For realistic models, the size of the matrix could easily be on the order of tens of thousands. The memory storage of an N N matrix is on the order of N 2 , while the solution time using a direct solver is on the order of N 3 . As the BEM model grows, the method sometimes becomes impractical due to computer limitations. One way to overcome the solution time difculty is to use an iterative solver45 with some appropriate preconditioning.46,47 Iterative solvers are much faster than conventional direct solvers for large problems.48 Also, there is no need to keep the matrix in memory, although the solution is slower in that case. 49 Additionally, BEM researchers have been working on different variations of the so-called fast multipole expansion method based on the original idea by Rokhlin50 53 in applied physics. 8 POSTPROCESSING Boundary element results can be viewed and assessed in a number of different ways. The BEM matrix solution only computes the acoustical quantities on the surface of the boundary element mesh. Thus, only the sound pressure and/or normal velocity is computed on the boundary using the direct method, and only the single- and/or double-layer potentials are computed using the indirect BEM. Following this, the acoustical

The BEM is sometimes preferred to the FEM for acoustic radiation problems because of the ease in meshing. However, there are some solution difculties with the BEM for acoustic radiation problems. Both the direct and indirect methods have difculties that are similar but not identical. With the direct BEM, the exterior boundary integral equation does not have a unique solution at certain frequencies. These frequencies correspond to the resonance frequencies of the airspace interior to the boundary (with Dirichlet boundary conditions). Though the direct BEM results will be accurate at most frequencies, the sound pressure results will be incorrect at these characteristic frequencies. The most common approach to overcome the nonuniqueness difculty is to use the combined Helmholtz integral equation formulation, or CHIEF, method.11 A few overdetermination or CHIEF points are placed inside the boundary, and CHIEF equations are written that force the sound pressure to be equal to zero at each of these points. Several CHIEF points should be identied inside the boundary because a CHIEF point that falls on or near the interior nodal surface of a particular eigenfrequency will not provide

TL (dB)



quantities at points in the eld can be determined from the boundary solution by integrating the surface acoustical quantities over the boundary, a process requiring minimal computer resources. As a result, once an acoustical BEM analysis has been completed, results can be examined at any number of eld points in a matter of minutes. This is a clear advantage of using numerical approaches like the BEM over the time-intensive nature of experimental work. However, the numerical results in the eld are only as reliable as the calculated acoustical quantities on the boundary, and the results should be carefully examined to assure they make good engineering sense. To help evaluate the results, commercial software includes convenient postprocessing capabilities to determine and then plot the sound pressure results on standard geometric shapes like planes, spheres, or hemispheres in the sound eld. These shapes do not have to be dened beforehand, making it very convenient to examine results at various locations of interest in the sound eld. Furthermore, the user can more closely inspect the solution at strategic positions. For example, Fig. 13 shows a sound pressure contour for the sound radiated by an engine cover. A contour plot of the surface vibration is shown under the engine cover proper, and the sound pressure results are displayed on a eld point mesh above the cover and give a good indication of the directivity of the sound at that particular frequency. Additionally, the sound power can be computed after the matrix solution is completed. One advantage of the direct BEM is that the sound power and radiation efciency can be determined from the boundary solution directly. This is a direct result of only one side of the boundary being considered for the solution. However, determining the sound power using the indirect BEM is a little more problematic. Normally, the user denes a sphere or some other geometric shape that encloses the sound radiator. After the sound pressure and particle velocity are computed on the

geometric shape, the sound power can be determined by integrating the sound intensity over the area of the shape. Results are normally better if the eld points are located in the far eld. Another possible use of BEM technology can be to identify the panels that contribute most to the sound at a point or to the sound eld as a whole. For instance, a BEM mesh was painted onto a diesel engine and then vibration measurements were made at each node on the engine surface. The measured vibrations were used as the input velocity boundary condition for a subsequent BEM calculation. The sound power contributions (in decibels) from the oil pan and the front cover of a diesel engine are shown in Fig. 14. As the gure indicates, the front cover is the prime culprit at 240 Hz. This example illustrates how the BEM can be used as a diagnostic tool even after a prototype is developed. Boundary element method postprocessing is not always a turnkey operation. The user should carefully examine the results rst to judge whether condence is warranted in the analysis. Furthermore, unlike measurement results, raw BEM results are always on a narrow-band basis. Obtaining the overall or A-weighted sound pressure or sound power may require additional postprocessing depending on the commercial software used. Also, the transmission loss for a mufer or a plenum system cannot be exported directly using many BEM software packages. This requires additional postprocessing using a spreadsheet or mathematical software.
9 EXAMPLE 1: CONSTRUCTION CAB A construction cab is an example of an interior acoustics problem. The construction cab under consideration is 1.9 1.5 0.9 m3 . Due to the thickness of the walls, and the high damping, the boundary was assumed to be rigid. A loudspeaker and tube were attached to the construction cab, and the sound pressure was measured using a microphone where the tube connects to the cab. All analyses were conducted at low enough frequencies so that plane waves could be assumed inside the tube. Medium-density foam was placed on the oor of the cab. First, a solid model of the acoustical domain was prepared, and the boundary was meshed using shell elements. A commercial preprocessor was used to prepare the mesh, which was then transferred into BEM software. In accordance with the normal convention for the commercial BEM software in use, the element normal direction was checked for consistency and chosen to point toward the acoustical domain. For the indirect BEM, the normal direction must be consistent, pointing toward the inside or outside. In this case, both the direct and indirect BEM approaches were used. For the indirect BEM, the boundary conditions are placed on the inner surface, and the outer surface is assumed to be rigid (normal velocity of zero). For both approaches, the measured sound pressure at the tube inlet was used as a boundary condition, and a surface impedance was applied to the oor to model the foam. (The surface impedance of the foam was measured in an impedance tube.40 ) All

Sound Pressure Contour

Surface Vibration Contour

Figure 13 Contour plot showing the sound pressure variation on a eld point plane located above an engine cover.



Figure 14 BEM predicted sound power contributions from the oil pan and front cover of a diesel engine.

the pressure at a single point is arguably the most challenging test for a boundary element analysis. The BEM fares better when the sound power is predicted since the sound pressure results are used in an overall sense.
10 EXAMPLE 2: ENGINE COVER IN A PARTIAL ENCLOSURE The sound radiation from an aluminum engine cover in a partial enclosure was predicted using the indirect BEM.54 The experimental setup is shown in Fig. 17 The engine cover was bolted down at 15 locations to three steel plates bolted together ( 3 inches thick each). 4 The steel plates were rigid and massive compared to the engine cover and were thus considered rigid for modeling purposes. A shaker was attached to the engine cover by positioning the stinger through a hole drilled through the steel plates, and high-density particleboard was placed around the periphery of the steel plates. The experiment was designed so that the engine cover could be assumed to lie on a rigid half space. The engine cover was excited using white-noise excitation inside a hemianechoic chamber. To complicate the experiment, a partial enclosure was placed around the engine cover. The plywood partial enclosure was 0.4 m in height and was lined with glass ber on each wall. Although the added enclosure is a simple experimental change, it had a signicant impact on the sound radiation and the way in which the acoustical system is modeled. This problem is no longer strictly exterior or interior since the enclosure is open, making the model unsuitable for the direct BEM; the indirect BEM was used.

Figure 15 Schematic showing the BEM mesh and boundary conditions for the passenger compartment of a construction cab.

other surfaces aside from the oor were assumed to be rigid. The boundary conditions are shown in Fig. 15. Since the passenger compartment airspace is modally dense, a ne frequency resolution of 5 Hz was used. The sound pressure results are compared at a point in the interior to measured results in Fig. 16. The results demonstrate the limits of the BEM. Although the boundary element results do not exactly match the measured results, the trends are predicted well and the overall sound pressure level is quite close. Determining



Figure 16 Sound pressure level comparison at a point inside the construction cab. (The overall A-weighted sound pressure levels predicted by BEM and measured were 99.7 dB and 97.7 respective.)

Figure 17 Schematic showing the experimental setup of an engine cover located inside a partial enclosure.

the vibration results from the structural nite element model onto the surface of the boundary element mesh. A symmetry plane was placed at the base of the engine cover to close the mesh. Since this is an acoustic radiation problem, precautions were taken to avoid errors in the solution due to the nonexistence difculty for the indirect BEM discussed earlier. Two rectangular planes of boundary elements were positioned at right angles to one another in the space between the engine cover boundary and the symmetry plane (Fig. 18). An impedance boundary condition was applied to each side of the planes. Since the edges of each plane are free, a zero jump in pressure was applied along the edges.

A structural nite element model of the cover was created from a solid model of the engine cover. The solid model was automatically meshed using parabolic tetrahedral nite elements, and a frequency response analysis was performed. The results of the nite element analysis were used as a boundary condition for the acoustical analysis that followed. Using the same solid model as a starting point, the boundary element mesh was created by meshing the outer surface of the solid with linear quadrilateral elements. The boundary element mesh is simpler and coarser than the structural nite element mesh. Since features like the small ribs have dimensions much less than an acoustic wavelength, they have a negligible effect on the acoustics even though they are signicant structurally. Those features were removed from the solid model before meshing so that the mesh was coarser and could be analyzed in a timely manner. The boundary condition for the engine cover is the vibration on the cover (i.e., the particle velocity). The commercial BEM software used was able to interpolate

Zero Jump in Sound Pressure

Local Acoustic Impedance

Engine Cover Vibration

Acoustic Impedance Planes

Symmetry Plane

Figure 18 Schematic showing the boundary conditions that were assumed for a vibrating engine cover inside a partial enclosure.



Figure 19 Comparison of the sound power from the partial enclosure. Indirect BEM results are compared with those obtained by measurement. (The overall A-weighted sound power levels predicted by BEM and obtained by measurement were both 97.6 dB.)

The thickness of the partial enclosure was neglected since the enclosure is thin in the acoustical sense (i.e., the combined thickness of the wood and the absorptive lining is small compared to an acoustic wavelength). A surface impedance boundary condition was applied on the inside surface of the elements, and the outside surface was assumed to be rigid (zero velocity boundary condition). As indicated in Fig. 18, a zero jump in pressure was applied to the nodes on the top edge. As Fig. 19 shows, the BEM results compared reasonably well with the experimental results. The closely matched A-weighted sound power results are largely a result of predicting the value of the highest peak accurately. The differences at the other peaks can be attributed to errors in measuring the damping of the engine cover. A small change in the damping will have a large effect on the structural FEM analysis and a corresponding effect on any acoustic computational analysis that follows. Measuring the structural damping accurately is tedious due to data collection and experimental setup issues involved.

what they had hoped for. Today, many problems are still intractable using numerical tools in a purely predictive fashion. For example, forces inside machinery (i.e., engines and compressors) are difcult to quantify. Without realistic input forces and damping in the structural FEM model, numerical results obtained by a subsequent BEM analysis should be considered critically. Certainly, the BEM may still be useful for determining the possible merits of one design over another. Nevertheless, it is hard to escape the suspicion that many models may not resemble reality as much as we would like.
1. A. F. Seybert, B. Soenarko, F. J. Rizzo, and D. J. Shippy, An Advanced Computational Method for Radiation and Scattering of Acoustic Waves in Three Dimensions, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 77, 1985, pp. 362368. A. F. Seybert, B. Soenarko, F. J. Rizzo, and D. J. Shippy, Application of the BIE Method to Sound Radiation Problems Using an Isoparametric Element, ASME Trans. J. Vib. Acoust. Stress Rel. Des., Vol. 106, 1984, pp. 414420. T. W. Wu, The Helmholtz Integral Equation, in Boundary Element Acoustics, Fundamentals and Computer Codes, T. W. Wu (Ed.), WIT Press, Southampton, UK, 2000, Chapter 2. R. J. Bernhard, B. K. Gardner, and C. G. Mollo, Prediction of Sound Fields in Cavities Using Boundary Element Methods, AIAA J., Vol. 25, 1987, pp. 11761183.


The objective of this chapter was to introduce the BEM, noting some of the more important developments as well as the practical application of the method to a wide variety of acoustic problems. The BEM is a tool that can provide quick answers provided that a suitable model and realistic boundary conditions can be applied. However, when the BEM is looked at objectively, many practitioners nd that it is not quite



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