Methodology for the design of hydrophone acoustic baffles and supporting materials
MetadataShow full item record
One key element of underwater transducer design is the acoustic baffle. Acoustic baffles isolate a structure, such as a submarine hull, from noise and vibration produced by the active elements of the transducer and vice versa. Baffle materials must meet many conflicting requirements such as the need to be lightweight while providing high acoustic isolation. Currently Syntactic Acoustic Damping Material (SADM) is widely used as the primary acoustic baffle material. However, SADM baffles have many undesirable characteristics such as high density, poor machinability, high lead content and depth dependent acoustical behavior. The study of baffle materials is an under-represented area of sonar design. Most sonar transducer research focuses on the electrically active materials and their response to a variety of conditions. Relatively fewer studies have been devoted to understanding the effects of the supporting and baffle materials. This work considers the effects of the entire hydrophone system on the response while developing a method for aiding in proper system material selection. This was accomplished by first developing a model for a transducer's response in a variety of conditions. The response was validated with numerical finite-element models and experiments. Next, a generic model was developed that allows any number of layers with any material to be analyzed. This generic model is applied in concert with a material optimization method to aid in the selection of materials that will improve the transducer's response. The tools are finally applied to a simple real world problem to illustrate its strengths and weaknesses.