Mechanics of Underwater Noise

Course length:

2 Days



Course dates

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This two-day course describes the essential principles of underwater noise as it relates to ship/submarine silencing applications. The fundamental mechanisms of noise and target strength generation, reduction, and detection will be reviewed. Illustrative examples will be presented. The two-day course will be geared to those desiring a basic understanding of underwater noise and ship/submarine silencing with necessary mathematics presented as gently as possible. A full set of notes will be given to participants as well as a copy of the text, Mechanics of Underwater Noise, by Donald Ross.

Course Outline:

  1. Fundamentals. Definitions. Units, sources, spectral and temporal properties, wave equation, radiation and propagation, reflection, absorption and scattering.
  2. Noise Sources in Marine Applications. Rotating and reciprocating machinery, pumps and fans, gears, piping systems.
  3. Fluid Mechanics and Flow Induced Noise. Turbulent boundary layers, wakes, vortex shedding, cavity resonance, fluid-structure interactions, propeller noise mechanisms, cavitation noise.
  4. Structural Acoustics. Hull vibration and radiation, flexural waves, hull resonances, plates and cylindrical shells.
  5. Noise Control Strategies. Principles of machinery quieting, vibration isolation, structural damping, structural transmission loss, acoustic absorption, acoustic mufflers and enclosures.
  6. Sonar Self Noise and Reduction. Onboard sensors and towed arrays.
  7. Ship/Submarine Target Strength. Rigid body and elastic scattering mechanisms, target strength of structural components, methods for echo reduction, anechoic coatings.
  8. Issues in Ship Noise Measurements. Detection and Classification of Ship Signals in Noise. Overall design strategy for underwater acoustics.


Paul Arveson served as a civilian employee of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division. With a BS degree in Physics, he led teams in ship acoustic signature measurement and analysis, facility calibration, and characterization projects. He designed and constructed specialized analog and digital electronic measurement systems and their sensors and interfaces, including the system used to calibrate all the US Navy’s ship noise measurement facilities. He managed development of the Target Strength Predictive Model for the Navy. He conducted experimental and theoretical studies of acoustic and oceanographic phenomena for the Office of Naval Research. He has published numerous technical reports and papers in these fields. In 1999 Arveson received a Master’s degree in Computer Systems Management. He established the Balanced Scorecard Institute, as an effort to promote the use of this management concept among governmental and nonprofit organizations. He is active in various scientific organizations, and serves on the Board of Managers of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

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