radiated noise in terms of sound power, radiation efficiency, and surface velocity.


Understand the basic noise sources (e.g., mechanical, airflow, electro-mechanical) and relationships between operational parameters and noise.


Learn to evaluate common noise sources in buildings, communities, industry, and vehicles and participate in an exercise in setting a noise target for at least one source.


Examine a case study that shows how these principles have been applied in a real-world setting.

Objective 3: Learn how to control structure borne, airborne, and fluid borne noise paths.


Understand the parameters of a mechanical oscillator, including natural frequency and damping ratio.


Learn the concept of vibration isolation and how to specify the stiffness of a system.


Learn the concept of resonance control and how to specify viscous or structural damping.


Understand the concepts of absorption and reflection of harmonic sound waves by solid and fluid boundaries and materials and be able to relate them to the impedances of materials or duct elements (including reactive and resistive characteristics).


Understand the concept of sound transmission through a wall and the mass law.


Learn the characteristics of sound-absorptive materials and how to specify their performance.


Learn the concepts of basic muffler elements, such as expansion chambers and side branch resonators, and how to specify their performance.


Learn how to design a simple enclosure and how to control noise in various ways.


Examine a real-life problem that illustrates how these principles have been applied and propose source or path noise control solution(s).


Critically examine professional issues, such as safety, ethics, economics, product liability, and environmental concerns via case studies and group discussions.

The objectives described above should be considered minimal requirements for a one-semester course. Issues related to prerequisites and materials would depend on the program offering the course, the educational level of the student, and other specific factors. Evaluation methods (as appropriate) include homework assignments and examinations, classroom discussion, and student-conducted noise measurements on simple noise sources. Instructors are encouraged to use modern pedagogical methods (e.g., sound visualization codes, field animation software, MATLAB (or comparable codes), Internet-based tools). Experimental demonstrations (on the nature of sources and/or the effect of simple noise and vibration control devices) should be used to engage students. Guest speakers from industry, the community, and other academic departments could be brought in to illustrate the fascinating and challenging aspects of noise control engineering.

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

A short description of an undergraduate course that meets the objectives of the previous section follows. This course deals with the fundamentals of noise control and engineering, including design criteria based on human response to noise (e.g., hearing damage, annoyance, speech intelligibility, enjoyment of music). Acoustic wave propagation and transmission phenomena are covered, along with noise measurement and reduction techniques. Applications deal with machines, building design, musical instruments, and speakers. Ideal acoustical rooms (e.g., anechoic and reverberant rooms) are demonstrated. Students are expected to conduct sound measurements on a source of their choice using a handheld sound-level meter.

Another example of a course that meets the objectives is “Noise Control in Machinery” taught at Penn State. The course covers the nature of noise sources in machine elements and systems and deals with the propagation and reduction of machinery noise and the effects of noise on people.


On the graduate level, institutions have offered several engineering-science-based courses, such as engineering acoustics, aero-acoustics, continuous vibrations, and digital signal processing. However, a comprehensive search of graduate programs turned up only a few courses with “noise control” in the titles. Penn State and Ohio State offer a sequence of year-long graduate courses, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln offers one graduate-level course. Catalog descriptions are listed below:

  • Penn State, Noise Control Engineering I: The first of three courses, this course provides an orientation to the program and covers fundamentals of noise control.

  • Penn State, Noise Control Engineering II: This course applies fundamentals of noise control covered in Noise Control Engineering I to noise generation, propagation, measurement, and effects.

  • Penn State, Noise Control Engineering III: This course covers advanced methods for analyses of noise and vibration and treatments for control of noise and vibration.

  • Ohio State, Automotive Noise, Vibration, and Harshness Control I: An integrated study of acoustics, shock

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