Hydroacoustic Parametric Study of Pile Driving-Induced Anthropogenic Sound

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Virginia Tech


Anthropogenic sound in Florida's waters and coastal waterways is most commonly caused by overwater development, marine traffic, and military activity. Overwater construction has increased over the years as a result of aging infrastructure and rising expansions around the United States, including more than forty US Naval facilities containing tens of thousands of feet of pier. Construction methodology, such as pile driving, has risen in shallow waters to build structures such as bridges, piers, and wind farms, with significant consequences for marine life and the environment. More precisely, pile driving activities generate significant decibel levels in the surrounding marine environment. Measurements taken from hydrophones placed in the water near the construction site indicate that the high sound pressure levels produced may be harmful to marine life and the environment. As a result, standards have been established to help alleviate and decrease the possible harm that high decibel sound levels may produce. However, these additional steps increase the overall cost of the construction project. This thesis focuses on replicating the pile driving process using finite element modeling to hydroacoustic parametric study of pile driving-induced anthropogenic sound in neighboring Florida seas, as well as the possible environmental impact of the state's numerous naval base piers. The modeling predictions can then be used to identify the distance from the pile at which marine life and the environment are no longer adversely affected. In addition, computer modeling can reduce construction costs when compared to on-site sensors and monitoring.



Pile driving, anthropogenic noise, underwater, COMSOL Multiphysics, Finite element modeling