Sattik Basu

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Sarma Rani

Committee Member

Sivaguru Ravindran

Committee Member

Kader Frendi


Air ducts--Acoustic properties., Boundary value problems., Helmholtz equation., Neumann problem.


Acoustic wave propagation in a duct is governed by the Helmholtz equation, which can be derived from the fluctuating forms of the mass, momentum, and energy balance equations (after considering harmonic dependence on time). In one-dimensional (1-D) domains, the Helmholtz equation is a second-order ordinary differential equation (ODE), while the fluctuating balance equations are all first-order ODEs. As a result, one needs two boundary conditions for the spatial pressure fluctuation $\hat{p}(x)$ in order to solve the Helmholtz equation, while only one boundary condition each is needed for $\hat{\rho}$, $\hat{u}$ and $\hat{p}$ in case of the fluctuating balance equations. Accordingly, this study was motivated by two principal objectives. The first was to develop the exact Neumann (or derivative) boundary condition at the inlet to a quasi 1-D duct needed to solve the Helmholtz equation. Such an exact boundary condition would ensure that the spatial pressure fluctuations $\hat{p}(x)$ obtained by solving the Helmholtz equation are identical to the $\hat{p}(x)$ obtained through the solution of the fluctuating balance equations. The second principal objective was to determine the exact relationship between the density and pressure fluctuations, $\hat{\rho}$ and $\hat{p}$ respectively, so that the $\hat{\rho}(x)$ calculated using the Helmholtz-equation $\hat{p}(x)$ is again identical to the $\hat{\rho}(x)$ obtained by solving the fluctuating balance equations. The exact $\hat{\rho}$-$\hat{p}$ relation is also compared with the ``classical" relation, namely $\hat{\rho} = \hat{p}/\bar{c}^2$, enabling us to evaluate the accuracy of the latter. The Neumann boundary conditions and the $\hat{\rho}$-$\hat{p}$ relations were developed for five cases with axially uniform and non-uniform duct cross-sectional areas, as well as homogeneous and inhomogeneous mean flow properties such as the velocity, temperature, density and pressure. It is seen that the $\hat{\rho} = \hat{p}/\bar{c}^2$ relation is valid only for the cases with uniform cross-sectional area and homogeneous mean properties. For the cases with uniform cross-section, inhomogeneous mean properties (with zero or uniform mean flow), the ``classical" $\hat{\rho}$ relation suffers from significant errors both in amplitude and phase.



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