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Chapter 6

Transmission Loss Tests


This chapter describes and presents the experimental setup, test calibration, and test
results for the transmission loss tests that were performed to further evaluate the
performance of the smart damping plate. These tests were conducted at an SAE J1400
transmission loss test facility according to the details of the SAE J1400 standardized test
specifications entitled Laboratory Measurements of the Airborne Sound Barrier
Performance of Automotive Materials and Assemblies [30]. The transmission loss test
facility has two adjacent rooms, a reverberation room and a semi-anechoic reception
room. A test window is located between the two rooms where test panels are placed for
testing.

Sound is generated in the reverberation room, and the amount of sound

transmitted through the window is measured.

6.1 Test Setup


The SAE J1400 test facility, the floor plan of which is illustrated in Figure 6.1, consists
of a 300-cubic meter-reverberation room, a semi-anechoic reception chamber, and a
joining wall.

Figure 6.1. Floor Plan of Transmission Loss Test Facility

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For testing, a test panel with a variety of different damping materials is inserted in
a window located in the joining wall. The window, originally adapted for a 3 ft x 3 ft test
panel, had to be modified to accommodate the smaller 0.6m x 0.5m standard test plate, as
documented in Appendix E. The new test window, shown in Figure 6.2, was built to
simulate the same fully-clamped boundary conditions as described for the vibration and
acoustics tests.

Modified
Test
Window

Figure 6.2. Modified Test Window, Reverberation Room Side


Initial tests were run with this window in order to calibrate the data acquisition
program that measures the noise reduction and calculates the panel transmission loss.
Once the test setup was calibrated, transmission loss tests were conducted for three
different test plates:
a standard test plate,
a PZT plate, and
a PZT plate (PZTs not shunted) with constrained layer damping.

6.2 Transmission Loss Calibration Tests


For lab measurements, transmission loss is determined using the equation
TL = MNR + 10log10(A/S)

(6.1)

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where TL is the transmission loss of the panel, MNR is the measured noise reduction
between the reverberation room and reception chamber, S is the Sabine absorption of
the receiving room, and A is the area of the test window. The expression 10log10(A/S)
is constant for any test panel with the same area. Therefore, it can be replaced with a
constant correction factor, CF, which modifies Equation (6.1) to

TL = MNR - CF

(6.2)

To determine this correction factor for the new window, a flexible test sample, as
depicted in Figure 6.3, was made out of 2mm-thick barrier material to clamp into the test
window. The transmission loss of the barrier material from 100-10,000 Hz can be
directly calculated from the mass-law equation:

TLcalc(dB)= 20log10(W) + 20log10(f) -47.2

(6.3)

where Tlcalc is the theoretical transmission loss, W is the weight density of the panel, and f
is the center frequency of the third-octave measurement band.
Window Adapter

Calibration Test Panel

Figure 6.3. Modified Test Window with Barrier Material for Calibration Test

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To determine the correction factor, speakers placed in the reverberation room


generate a white noise with a bandwidth of 100 to 10,000 Hz. The noise level is recorded
in the reverberation chamber and the reception chamber by microphones. The difference
of these measurements minus the measured ambient sound levels is recorded as MNR.
The correction factor, CF, is then determined for each third-octave band center
frequency as
CF = MNR - TLcalc.

(6.4)

The data acquisition program then stored these correction factors to calculate the
transmission loss of the test plates. For example, after the measured noise reduction for
the standard test panel, i.e. MNRstd, is recorded, the program computes the transmission
loss as
TLstd = MNRstd - CF.

(6.5)

6.3 Transmission Loss Testing and Results


Three different test plates were used for the transmission loss tests. Just as in the
vibration and acoustics test stand, each plate was clamped into the test window by
tightening the 14 bolts to a torque of 25 N-m. The first plate tested was the standard test
plate used for the vibration and acoustics tests. The second plate was the PZT plate with
the shunting circuits. The third plate was the same PZT plate with constrained layer
damping (MASDAMP755) added to its backt.

This third plate was tested without the

shunting circuits. The purpose of testing this third plate was to test the effects of adding
damping against the effect of shunting the PZTs.

6.3.1 Tuning the PZT Shunts


Once the PZT test plate was clamped into the test window, as shown in Figure 6.4, with
the wiring in place, the PZT shunts had to be tuned, as described in Appendix B, to the
resonant frequencies of the plate.

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Figure 6.4. Undamped Plate with Smart Damping in Modified Test Window,
Reception Chamber Side
In order to set the inductors to the required values, the frequencies of the resonant
peaks were determined. The narrowband frequency response function for the plate was
generated using a small impact hammer and an accelerometer.

The accelerometer

measurement was taken at the center of the plate, and the hammer impact position was in
the center of the top third part of the plate. The frequency response of the PZT plate in
the test window was slightly different from the response generated by the vibration and
acoustics test stand. This was due to the fact that the test window boundary conditions
were different than the structure-borne test stand boundary conditions. For instance, as
shown in Figure 6.5, the peak at approximately 160 Hz is much smaller than the peaks at
120, 240, and 260 Hz, which was not the case in the vibration and acoustics test stand.
The shunt circuits were therefore tuned again in the J-1400 test window as shown
in Figure 6.5. The shunt circuits were tuned for the same peaks as the vibration stand
tests. The peak at 190 Hz was an even mode that was not chosen to be reduced.

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Frequency Response: accel/force, Shunted and Unshunted PZT Plate


140
Unshunted
1
Shunted
120

Magnitude, gs/lb

100

80
60
3

40
20
0
100

150

200
Frequency, Hz

250

300

Figure 6.5. Plate Vibrations with Unshunted and Shunted PZTs

6.3.2 Transmission Loss Test Results


After the shunt circuits were tuned, the transmission loss at a single frequency was tested
to determine the effect of attaching the shunt circuits to the smart damping plate. A
single tone at 162.75 Hz (peak 3) was generated by the speakers in the reverberation
chamber, and the transmitted sound pressure was measured in the reception room. Figure
6.6 shows the time trace of the reception room sound pressure as the shunts are turned on.
The shunt circuits decreased the sound pressure levels by approximately 5.8 dB.

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Reception Microphone Signal, Effect of Shunting at 162.75 Hz,


0.04
SHUNT OFF (SPL = 65.3 dB)
SHUNT OFF (SPL=65.3 dB)

0.03

SHUNT ON (SPL = 59.5 dB)

Sound Pressure, Pa

0.02

SHUNT ON (SPL=59.5 dB)

0.01
0
-0.01
-0.02
-0.03
-0.04
0.7

0.8

0.9

1.1
Time, s

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.5

Figure 6.6. Sound Pressure in Reception Chamber Before and After


Turning on the Shunt Circuits
The PZT plate was then tested without shunting and with shunting to determine how
much smart damping increases the transmission loss for 100-10,000 Hz. The PZT plate,
however, was only designed to increase the transmission loss from 100-300 Hz. Figure
6.7 shows the test results for the entire frequency range.
Transmission Loss: Unshunted vs Shunted PZT Plate
45
40
35

TL (dB)

30
25
20
PZT Plate (unshunted)

15

PZT Plate (shunted)


10
5
0
10000

8000

6300

5000

4000

3150

2500

2000

1600

1250

1000

800

630

500

400

315

250

200

160

125

100

Frequency (1/3 Octave Band)

Figure 6.7. Transmission Loss for Test Plate with Unshunted and Shunted PZTs

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As expected, the figure shows that smart damping does not increase the transmission loss
for frequency bands over 400 Hz. Figure 6.8 also shows that smart damping has the most
significant effect in the 125Hz and 250 Hz third-octave bands. These shunt circuits were
designed to operate in these frequency bands. Figure 6.8, which more clearly shows the
results for the 100-400 Hz frequency range, illustrates that smart damping can add up to 7
dB of transmission loss.
Transmission Loss: Unshunted vs Shunted PZT Plate
25

TL (dB)

20

15

10
PZT Plate (unshunted)
PZT Plate (shunted)

0
100

125

160
200
250
Frequency (1/3 Octave Band)

315

400

Figure 6.8. Transmission Loss for Test Plate with Unshunted and Shunted PZTs
The performance of the smart plate was also evaluated by comparing the shunted
PZT plate with no damping to the same PZT plate that is unshunted and has constrained
layer damping attached on the entire back of the plate. For the analysis, the transmission
loss data of the PZT plate with constrained layer damping was scaled to eliminate the
mass loading effects of the damping material. From Equation 6.3, the added transmission
loss due to the weight of the panel is

TLmass = 20log10(W).

(6.6)

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For the PZT plate, with a weight density of 7.413 kg/m, this mass loading factor, TLmass,
equals 17.40 dB. For the PZT plate with constrained layer damping and with a weight
density of 9.600 kg/m,

TLmass = 19.64 dB.

(6.7)

Therefore, the additional transmission loss created by the mass of the constrained layer
damping is 2.24 dB. Figure 6.9 shows the final transmission loss results with the added
weight factored out.
Transmission Loss
45
40

Transmission Loss, (dB)

35
30
25
20
15
10
5

Unshunted PZT Plate w/o CLD


Shunted PZT Plate w/o CLD
Unshunted PZT Plate w/ CLD (Weight Corrected)

10
0
12
5
16
0
20
0
25
0
31
5
40
0
50
0
63
0
80
0
10
00
12
50
16
00
20
00
25
00
31
50
40
00
50
00
63
00
80
00
10
00
0

1/3 Octave Band Center Frequencies, Hz

Figure 6.9. Transmission Loss Results of Shunted and Unshunted PZT Plate with
Constrained Layer Damping
To further compare the performance of the smart damping materials and constrained
layer damping materials, the transmission loss benefits per added weight of the materials
were determined:
(TransmissionLoss) (TL)
=
( AddedWeight )
(W )

(6.8)

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For each case, the differential transmission loss and weight were calculated as

(TL) = TL|treated plate - TL|standard plate

(6.9)

(W) = W|treated plate - W|standard plate

(6.10)

The results shown in Figure 6.10 indicate that the smart damping materials have a
significantly larger transmission loss to weight ratio at all of the frequencies for which
they are tuned (i.e., 125, 160, and 250 Hz) than passive damping treatments.

The

implication of the results in Figure 6.10 is that smart damping materials can potentially
be used to provide a higher transmission loss at selected frequencies without any
significant amount of added weight to the vehicle.
Gain in Transmission Loss Relative to Increased Weight
40
Unshunted PZT Plate w/ CLD
Shunted PZT Plate w/o CLD

35

Delta TL/Weight,
(dB/lb)

30
25
20
15
10
5
0
-5
-10
125

160

200

250

315

1/3 Octave Band Center Frequencies, Hz

Figure 6.10. Increased Transmission Loss Normalized with Respect to Added Weight

6.4 Summary
The results for the transmission loss tests performed at the SAE J1400 standardized test
facility of the Lear Corporation acoustical lab were presented. The test window was
modified to test the undamped and smart damping plates that were used for the vibration
and structure-borne noise tests. It was shown that the addition of smart damping can
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increase the transmission loss of the plate by up to 7 dB. It was also shown that this
transmission loss can be achieved while adding a minimal amount of weight to the plate.

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