Measurement of complex acoustic intensity in an acoustic waveguide

Wenbo Duan, Ray Kirby, Jevgenija Prisutova, Kirill V. Horoshenkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Acoustic intensity is normally treated as a real quantity, but in recent years, many articles have appeared in which intensity is treated as a complex quantity where the real (active) part is related to local mean energy flow and the imaginary (reactive) part to local oscillatory transport of energy. This offers the potential to recover additional information about a sound field and then to relate this to the properties of the sound source and the environment that surrounds it. However, this approach is applicable only to multi-modal sound fields, which places significant demands on the accuracy of the intensity measurements. Accordingly, this article investigates the accuracy of complex intensity measurements obtained using a tri-axial Microflown intensity probe by comparing measurement and prediction for sound propagation in an open flanged pipe. Under plane wave conditions, comparison between prediction and experiment reveals good agreement, but when a higher order mode is present, the reactive intensity field becomes complicated and agreement is less successful. It is concluded that the potential application of complex intensity as a diagnostic tool is limited by difficulties in measuring reactive intensity in complex sound fields when using current state of the art acoustic instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3674-3685
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


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