Simulation and Visualization of In- and Outdoor Sound

Frank Michel

PhD-Thesis University of Kaiserslautern 2008.


Sound surrounds us all the time and in every place in our daily life, may it be pleasant music in a concert hall or disturbing noise emanating from a busy street in front of our home. The basic properties are the same for both kinds of sound, namely sound waves propagating from a source, but we perceive it in different ways depending on our current mood or if the sound is wanted or not. In this thesis both pleasant sound as well as disturbing noise is examined by means of simulating the sound and visualizing the results thereof. However, although the basic properties of music and traffic noise are the same, one is interested in different features. For example, in a concert hall, the reverberation time is an important quality measure, but if noise is considered only the resulting sound level, for example on ones balcony, is of interest. Such differences are reflected in different methods of simulation and required visualizations, therefore this thesis is divided into two parts. The first part about room acoustics deals with the simulation and novel visualizations for indoor sound and acoustic quality measures, such as definition (original "Deutlichkeit") and clarity index (original "Klarheitsmaß"). For the simulation two different methods, a geometric (phonon tracing) and a wave based (FEM) approach, are applied and compared. The visualization techniques give insight into the sound behaviour and the acoustic quality of a room from a global as well as a listener based viewpoint. Furthermore, an acoustic rendering equation is presented, which is used to render interference effects for different frequencies. Last but not least a novel visualization approach for low frequency sound is presented, which enables the topological analysis of pressure fields based on room eigenfrequencies. The second part about environmental noise is concerned with the simulation and visualization of outdoor sound with a focus on traffic noise. The simulation instruction prescribed by national regulations is discussed in detail, and an approach for the computation of noise volumes, as well as an extension to the simulation, allowing interactive noise calculation, are presented. Novel visualization and interaction techniques for the calculated noise data, incorporated in an interactive three dimensional environment, enabling the easy comprehension of noise problems, are presented. Furthermore additional information can be integrated into the framework to enhance the visualization of noise.

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz