Validation of a 3-D Virtual Acoustic Prototyping Method For Use In Structural Design

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

Virtual acoustic prototyping (auralization) is the rendering of a virtual sound field that is created from the calculated acoustic response of a modeled structure. Auralization is useful in the design and subjective evaluation of buildings, automobiles, and aircraft. The virtual acoustic prototyping method in this thesis uses finite element modeling (FEM), the equivalent source method (ESM), and head-related transfer functions (HRTFs). A tradeoff exists between the accuracy of the auralization process and the number of equivalent sources (and thus computational power) that are required.

The goal of this research is to validate (numerically and subjectively) a virtual acoustic prototyping method for use in structural design; this thesis illustrates the first attempt to apply the aforementioned methods to a structure that represents a typical building or automobile. The structure's acoustics were modeled using FEM, ESM, and HRTFs. A prototype of the modeled structure was built. A 36% correlation was achieved between the model and prototype. Slight variations in boundary conditions caused significant FEM error, but the data represented a typical structure.

Psychoacoustic comparison testing was performed to determine the number of equivalent sources that must be used in an auralization to accurately recreate the sound field. The number was found to be dependent on the type of noise that is played to the test subject. A clear relationship between the numerical correlation of two sounds and the percentage of subjects who could hear a difference between those two sounds was established for impulsive, broadband, and engine noises.

structural acoustics, equivalent source method, virtual acoustic prototyping, HRTF