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Research Group: Acoustics Group

Currently Active: 

We undertake projects ranging from fundamental science to real-world applications and are active in three major areas: aeroacoustics of aircraft engines; ultrasonics and underwater acoustics; and noise source imaging and virtual acoustics. The Group includes the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Gas Turbine Noise.

Group Overview

Ultrasonic and underwater acoustics

Sound travels better in water than any other form of signal, and research in the Centre for Ultrasonics and Underwater Acoustics (UAUA) brings together acousticians, oceanographers, archaeologists, zoologists, geophysical surveyors and chemists, who explore questions such as:

  • What would a waterfall sound like on Titan, Saturn's largest moon? How could this have enhanced the Cassini-Huygens probe mission?
  • How do dolphins think and how can this be exploited to protect shipping?
  • Can we produce 3D pictures of shipwrecks, hidden for hundreds fof years under the mud at the bottom of the sea? Can we undertake archaeology without disturbing the wreck?
  • Do humpback whales create 'walls of sound' to trap prey and how can we exploit this phenomenon to protect seals from the noise of piling in harbours?
  • How can we use sound to monitor the annual transfer of billions of tonnes of atmospheric gases into the ocean and back again – a process of key importance to our climate and its stability?

The themes of exploration and discovery underpin UAUA's research, and key activities range from climate studies to the protection of marine mammals. Using an interdisciplinary approach, UAUA takes projects from fundamental science to real-world applications.

Biomedical and high-power ultrasonics

In addition to our oceanographic activities, we conduct research which addresses a range of biomedical issues, such as how ultrasound can be exploited to change chemical reactions and therefore help industries become cleaner and more efficient.

Our research has led to developments in many areas, including:

  • a 'smart stethoscope' to assess the effectiveness of ultrasound in destroying kidney stones
  • an ultrasound system to detect osteoporosis and the general health of bone
  • a method for assessing muscle quality using ultrasound
  • techniques that enable industry to assess the effectiveness of ultrasonic devices designed
    to clean surgical instruments, circuit boards and other tools
  • techniques to detect erosion in pipelines
  • a discovery that could help electroplating  companies become cleaner and more efficient through the use of acoustics.

We have also contributed to a national study looking at the use of ultrasound to treat tumours and have advised on the safe use of ultrasound (eg for foetal scanning). These studies are carried out in collaboration with a range of hospitals, including Guy's and St Thomas', London; the Institute of Cancer Research; Churchill Hospital, Oxford; Southampton General Hospital; and Chemistry at the University of Southampton.

Aeroacoustics and nonlinear acoustics

Aeroacoustics is the study of aerodynamically generated sound. The Acoustics Group supports a substantial programme of research in aeroacoustics which focuses on reducing aircraft noise. This is a particularly challenging problem since aircraft noise is generated by multiple sources, many of which are associated with turbulent, unsteady motion. All must be reduced to achieve a significant reduction in overall noise. Aircraft noise is a major nuisance for residents who live close to airports, and a significant environmental constraint on the growth of commercial aviation. Our Group is home to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Gas Turbine Noise which forms part of the global Rolls-Royce research network and undertakes research on all aspects of aircraft noise. The activities of the UTC include theoretical, computational and experimental studies of aircraft noise sources and the development of robust noise prediction tools. Areas of particular interest are the design of acoustic liners to reduce noise radiated from intake and bypass ducts, the development of improved models for fan broadband noise and jet noise, and their integration within whole aircraft noise prediction schemes. We are also responsible for developing and exploiting advanced measurement techniques for rig and full-scale engine noise tests, and for appraising noise data acquired in industrial test facilities by Rolls-Royce and other industrial partners.

Electroacoustics, virtual acoustics, imaging and inverse methods

In ISVR, we are actively researching the use of inverse methods in acoustics. For example, one project is developing visual head-tracking methods that enable digital filters in virtual audio to be updated in real time in response to listeners' head movements. Further work is under way on optimal source distribution, which provides effective loudspeaker design for 3D sound and signal processing principle which enables lossless crosstalk cancellation process.

Inverse methods are also being applied to microphone array technology in two areas: the development of circular microphone arrays for speech and the use of microphone arrays to assess the noise radiated from aircraft jet engines, both in the outdoor environment and in an indoor test cell. Work is also continuing to assess and improve the low-frequency performance of loudspeakers and listening rooms.


Contact us


Engineering and the Environment
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ


Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2291


Postgraduate opportunities

You can find all of our projects with guaranteed funding here.




Research Staff

List of all staff members in Acoustics Group
Staff MemberPrimary Position
Jeremy AstleyProfessor of Computational Acoustics
Weng Yee ChongPostgraduate Research Student
Christian M CoxPostgraduate research student
Helen CurriePostgraduate research student
Craig DolderResearch Fellow
Filippo Maria FaziAssociate Professor
Andreas FranckPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Pablo Giordani SerranoPostgraduate research student
Rob HarrisRoyal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Auditorium and Building Acoustics
Anthony HartPostgraduate research student
Fabio Casagrande HironoPostgraduate research student
Falk-Martin HoffmannResearch Fellow in Acoustics
Keith HollandAssociate Professor
Victor HumphreyProfessor of Acoustics
Phillip JosephProfessor of Engineering Acoustics
Giovanni LacagninaResearch Fellow
Jack LT LawrenceResearch Fellow in Experimental Aeroacoustics
Timothy Leighton FRS FREng FMedSciProfessor of Ultrasonics and Underwater Acoustics
Maryam MalakoutikhahPostgraduate Research Student
Freya MalcherPostgraduate research student
Alan McAlpineAssociate Professor
Dylan MenziesSenior Research Fellow
Nikhil MistryPostgraduate Research Student
Paul B MurrayPrincipal Research Fellow
Philip NelsonProfessor of Acoustics
Chaitanya Choudary ParuchuriResearch Fellow
Rodney SelfProfessorial Fellow in Aeroacoustics
Matthew ShortPostgraduate Research Student
Marcos Felipe Simón GálvezResearch Fellow
Brian TesterPrincipal Research Fellow
Antonio J Torija MartinezSenior Research Fellow in Airport Noise
Matthew WrightSenior Lecturer in Acoustics
Mengyang ZhuPostgraduate research student

    Related Projects

    List of related projects to Acoustics Group
    Related ProjectsStatus
    3D gel dosimetry in radiotherapy using ultrasonic methods Active
    Acoustics of high performance transmission-line loudspeakersActive
    Acoustics of turbofan duct systemsActive
    Acoustic imaging inside aircraft engine ducts to help design quieter enginesActive
    Blast location in mines and tunnels.Active
    Brain inspired speech enhancerActive
    Bubble detectors invented for the USA's Oak Ridge National Laboratory $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source Active
    "Buzz-saw" noise and nonlinear acousticsActive
    Characterising the low-frequency performance of loudspeakersActive
    Clean water and green energy from waste using bubble acousticsActive
    Corrosion detection in small diameter buried steel gas pipes Active
    Detecting leaks from undersea gas pipelines, seabed methane reserves, and carbon capture and storage facilitiesActive
    Detection and identification of difficult maritime targetsActive
    Determining aircraft engine combustion noise from acoustic imaging measurements.Active
    Development of 3-channel OPSODIS 3D sound reproduction systemActive
    Development of models for the prediction of fan broadband noiseActive
    Do dolphins think nonlinearly?Active
    Dolphin-inspired radar for finding bombs, bugs and catastrophe victimsActive
    Auralization combining finite element and geometrical acoustic methodsActive
    Installed turbofan and open rotor noiseActive
    Invention to improve food safety: Ultrasonic Salad CleaningActive
    Invention outperforms clinicians monitoring kidney treatment in patients Active
    Investigation into the use of numerical methods to create a virtual sound environmentActive
    Investigation into the use of statistics for analysing listening test dataActive
    Liner technology Active
    Locally resonant sonic materialsActive
    Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thoughtActive
    Measurement of materials under ocean conditionsActive
    Medical ultrasound exposure estimation in finite-amplitude beamsActive
    Minimising the environmental impact of advanced aircraft designsActive
    Mode-matching for duct acousticsActive
    Modelling next generation CROR aircraftActive
    No-flow rig tests of turbofan ducts in ISVR no-flow facilityActive
    Optical measurement of high amplitude medical ultrasound fieldsActive
    Order to chaos and back againActive
    Scattering of turbine tonesActive
    Signal processing for underwater acousticsActive
    Sound field reproduction with non-uniform source distributionsActive
    Sound radiation from jet exhaustsActive
    StarSaver - cleaning wounds when water is scarceActive
    StarSteam (2016 onwards)Active
    StarStream (2007-2015) - Cleaning with low volumes of cold waterActive
    Study of trailing edge serrations for low airfoil noise Active
    The measurement of Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) function in women using 2D dynamic ultrasoundActive
    The sounds of voices and waterfalls on other planetsActive
    Beamforming applications in aeroacousticsActive
    Compensated Amplitude PanningActive
    Complex sound field representationActive
    Describing sound scenes for next-generation audioActive
    Fundamentals of spatial audio reproductionActive
    Listener Position Adaptive Audio ReproductionActive
    Nearfield Acoustical HolographyActive
    Next Generation Recording TechnologyActive
    Object-based Room CompensationActive
    Shaping the future of systems for personalized audioActive
    Whales hunt with wall of soundActive
    World's first experiment tests for leaks from carbon capture and storage seabed facilitiesActive
    Anthropogenic noise from offshore wind farm constructionActive
    Finite element methods for aircraft noise predictionDormant
    The influence of surfactants on the mechanisms of ocean bubble formation Dormant
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