The University of Southampton

ISVR6145 Acoustics III

Module Overview

Acoustics 3 builds on the basic elements of acoustics covered in the core modules Acoustics 1 and 2, by introducing more advanced topics in theoretical acoustics. The focus will be on modelling sound fields generated by complex source distributions, including sound in enclosures and ducts. More sophisticated analytical methods will be introduced, including the acoustic Green function and integral solutions of the acoustic wave equation.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Understand how basic elements of acoustics theory can be extended to study more complex problems associated with sound generation and radiation. • Formulate analytical models for theoretical acoustics. • Solve examples of practical problems in physical acoustics. • Recognise more advanced techniques used in theoretical acoustics, and gain insight into concepts which would be studied more rigorously at graduate-level courses in acoustics.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • More advanced concepts associated with modelling sound fields generated by complex source distributions
  • Theoretical models to describe the sound field produced by acoustic sources in enclosures or ducts.
  • Integral solutions of the inhomogeneous wave equation, using the acoustic Green function.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain more advanced concepts in theoretical acoustics, such as the link between acoustic sources and acoustics modes of enclosures and ducts
  • Appreciate how to formulate solutions to predict sound fields generated by complex source distributions
  • Demonstrate how to use more advanced analytical methods in theoretical acoustics.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Reading, understanding and interpreting scientific texts and papers.
  • Critical analysis and evaluation.
  • Communication of technical material in written reports.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply advanced mathematical methods for solving partial differential equations.
  • Solve examples of practical problems in physical acoustics.


Indicative content: • Mathematical methods for acoustics (vector calculus, generalised functions, Fourier analysis, Green functions and theory). • Monopoles, dipoles and quadrupoles. • Inhomogeneous wave equation. • The acoustic Green function. • Integral solutions of the inhomogeneous wave equation. • Sound in enclosures. • Sound in ducts. • Examples/applications in physical acoustics.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered using a mixture of lectures, typically two per week, and tutorials to cover the application of the material to example problems. A structured coursework exercise which will include theoretical analysis, numerical computation, and critical evaluation of the results, is included in the teaching and learning experience.

Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice12
Follow-up work24
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

P.A. Nelson and S.J. Elliott. Active Control of Sound. 

A.P. Dowling and J.E. Ffowcs Williams. Sound and Sources of Sound. 

A.D. Pierce. Acoustics: an introduction to its physical principles and applications. 

Frank Fahy. Foundations of Engineering Acoustics. 

M. Howe. Publisher. Acoustics and Aerodynamic Sound. 

An Introduction to Acoustics.

M.C.M. Wright. Lecture notes on the Mathematics of Acoustics. 


Assessment Strategy



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 30%
Exam  (120 minutes) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

ISVR1032Acoustics 1
ISVR2042Acoustics II
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