Acoustics Area Examination


The Area Examination in Acoustics is intended to be an examination of the portion of the field used most frequently by mechanical engineers. The student is expected to demonstrate a good command of the fundamental principles of acoustics and noise control engineering through material at the Master’s level. Topic coverage will vary from semester to semester. Emphasis will be placed on test questions of the type that indicate basic understanding rather than complicated solution techniques.


The examination will be concerned with the areas of Engineering Acoustics and Noise Control. Course offerings in the School of Engineering at Purdue University, primarily ME 513 Engineering Acoustics and ME 413 Noise Control will be used to develop the majority of the test questions. Equivalent courses are available at other universities and should be adequate preparation for the examination. A more complete listing of the subject matter used in preparation of the examination is as follows:

  • Engineering Acoustics
    • Waves in Strings, Traveling Waves, Standing Waves
    • Acoustical Plane Waves in a Fluid: - Pressure, Condensation, Particle Velocity, Energy Density, Intensity, Sound Pressure Level, Sound Power Level
    • Transmission Phenomena, Two Media Problem
    • Transmission Through Thin Walls
    • Spherical Acoustic Waves
    • Simple sources; monopole, dipole, quadrupole, line source, source near a reflecting plane
    • Simple Resonators and Filters, Helmholtz Resonator, Expansion Chamber
  • Noise Control
    • Noise Measurements and Acoustical Instrumentation including decibel manipulation
    • Noise Control by Enclosure - Simple Sound Transmission Theory
    • Noise Control by Absorption – the Room Equation
    • Measurement of Noise from Machines
      • Near, Far, Free and Reverberant Fields
      • Sound Pressure, Sound Power, Directivity Index
      • Anechoic and Reverberant Rooms

Preparation for Examination

The following guidelines are suggested to the student to prepare for the examination:

  • Review the subject matter listed and any other material included in the two courses in mechanical engineering. Extension of the students’ background during preparation for the examination may be necessary.
  • Select textbook from the two mechanical engineering courses and work problems at the end of the chapters.

Possible Textbooks for Study

Noise Control

  • Current ME 413 Textbook
  • Noise and Vibration Control Engineering, L. L. Beranek and I. L. Ver, Wiley Interscience, 1992 – reprint available from Institute of Noise Control Engineering.
  • Engineering Noise Control: Theory and Practice, Fourth Edition, D.A. Bies and C.H. Hansen, CRC Press, 2009.

Engineering Acoustics

  • Fundamentals of Acoustics, L. E. Kinsler and A. R. Frey, A. B. Coppens, and J. V. Sanders, John Wiley & Sons, Fourth Edition, 1999
  • Acoustics, A. D. Pierce, Acoustical Society of America, 1989.

There are many other noise and acoustics textbooks which can be consulted.