During the Summer of 2006 the Acoustics Laboratory was completely renovated. Walls were torn down and the space was more than doubled. The renovation included new carpet, new ceiling panels and new lights. Other improvements include new Sonex® acoustic foam panels for the walls, a separate enclosed and isolated anechoic room, and more space for student project areas and computer workstations.
From left to right: the student computer lab area, the anechoic chamber built as a box within the lab, student research space, a research computer dedicated to Comsol Multiphysics (FE) modeling, research space for vibration measurements including EMA with STARModal, and the classroom/conference area.
Student Work Areas
This photo shows the student research areas. The U-shaped table is where small class meetings are held, research projects are discussed, or temporary experimental projects are setup. The work bench behind the tables is used for student research projects. The area in the far right (where the trombone is located) is another student project area.
The second photo shows the computer workstation and project area. The computers aren't shown, but there are five work stations where students can analyze recorded sound and vibration files, use LabView to interface with acoustic transducers, and control experiments in the adjacent anechoic room. One of the mannekins, KUbar, can be seen on the right, ready to hear with precision microphones in his ears.
KUbar is one of the many research-grade instruments featured in the Acoustics Lab, which is driven by opportunities for student projects. These projects generally fall into two large categories, acoustics (related to airborne waves) and vibration (of structures).
Acoustics (in air) Research Area
This space has a number of ongoing research projects involving the acoustics of musical instruments (trombone, kalimba, and djembe) as well as sound quality and localization, areas of psychoacoustics. The workstations here feature software for modeling and analysis of acoustic problems, with high-end monitor speakers and audio hardware. It's not unusual to find one or two students working with Dr. Ludwigsen on various projects most terms.
One of the recent faculty/student research project is an investigation into the acoustic behavior of bottles (officially known as "Helmholtz resonators") and the influence of shape on the sounds and frequency spectra they produce. This study led to more work investigating how Helmholtz resonators are built into musical instruments from the folk traditions of Africa, the kalimba and djembe.
Vibration (in structures) Research Area
This space supports research into vibrational characteristics of a variety of structures. Once dedicated to the study of softball and baseball bats under former faculty member Daniel Russell, this area will continue to serve students interested in experimental modal analysis. This technique obtains the vibrational mode shapes and frequencies of a vibrating object, offering a great deal of insight into performance and behavior in actual application. Expanding upon this capability, a large optical table is now in place in the lab, intended to be used for electronic speckle pattern interferometry and various other acoustic and vibration tests. During the last several years many students have assisted with vibration research, on subjects as varied as acoustic and electric guitars, archery bows, and hockey sticks.