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The Ideal Acoustic Tube

First we address the scalar case. For an ideal acoustic tube, we have the following wave equation [60]:

\frac{\partial^2 p(x,t)}{\partial t^2}
= c^2 \frac{\partial^2 p(x,t)}{\partial x^2}
\end{displaymath} (1)

where $p(x,t)$ denotes (scalar) pressure in the tube at the point $x$ along the tube at time $t$ in seconds. If the length of the tube is $L_R$, then $x$ is taken to lie between $0$ and $L_R$. We adopt the convention that $x$ increases ``to the right'' so that waves traveling in the direction of increasing $x$ are referred to as ``right-going.'' The constant $c$ is the speed of sound propagation in the tube, given by $c=\sqrt{K/ \mu }$, where $K$ is the ``spring constant'' or ``stiffness'' of the air in the tube,2 and $\mu $ is the mass per unit volume of the tube. The dual variable, volume velocity $u$, also obeys (1) with $p$ replaced by $u$. The wave equation (1) also holds for an ideal string, if $p$ represents the transverse displacement, $K$ is the tension of the string, and $\mu $ is its linear mass density.

The wave equation (1) follows from the more physically meaningful telegrapher's equations [24]:

$\displaystyle \displaystyle
-\frac{\partial p(x,t)}{\partial x}$ $\textstyle =$ $\displaystyle \mu \frac{\partial u(x,t)}{\partial t}$ (2)
$\displaystyle \displaystyle % needed for each line
-\frac{\partial u(x,t)}{\partial x}$ $\textstyle =$ $\displaystyle K^{-1} \frac{\partial p(x,t)}{\partial t}$ (3)

Equation (2) follows immediately from Newton's second law of motion, while (3) follows from conservation of mass and properties of an ideal gas [61].

The general traveling-wave solution to (1), (2), and (3) was given by D'Alembert [60] as

p(x,t)=p^+(x-c t)+p^-(x+c t) \\ u(x,t)=u^+(x-c t)+u^-(x+c t)
\end{array}\end{displaymath} (4)

where $p^+, p^-, u^+, u^-$ are the right- and left-going wave components of pressure and velocity, respectively, and are referred to as wave variables. This solution form is interpreted as the sum of two fixed wave-shapes traveling in opposite directions along the uniform tube. The specific waveshapes are determined by the initial pressure $p(x,0)$ and velocity $u(x,0)$ throughout the tube for $x\in [0,L_R]$.

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Download wgj.pdf

``Aspects of Digital Waveguide Networks for Acoustic Modeling Applications'', by Julius O. Smith III and Davide Rocchesso , December 19, 1997, Web published at
Copyright © 2007-02-07 by Julius O. Smith III and Davide Rocchesso
Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA),   Stanford University
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