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Separation Process Engineering Includes Mass Transfer Analysis 3rd Edition Wankat Solutions Manual

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Solutions Manual for

Separation Process Engineering
Includes Mass Transfer Analysis
Third Edition

Phillip C. Wankat

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ISBN-10: 0-13-276211-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-13-276211-3



Third Edition

(Formerly published as Equilibrium-Staged Separations)


Phillip C. Wankat
Introduction to Solutions Manual

The material in this Solutions Manual represents my best efforts at solving all the problems in
Separation Process Engineering, Third Edition. Note that the answers for graphical solutions can
vary depending upon the accuracy of the draftsperson; however, the methods shown here should
be correct. Although every effort has been made to ensure that solutions are correct, there will be
errors. Please inform the author of errors (

The assistance of Mrs. Karen Heide in preparing this Solutions Manual is gratefully

This Solutions Manual is provided as a service to professors who adopt the book
Separation Process Engineering, Third Edition, in their courses. It is copyrighted and is not to be
distributed or sold. No parts of this manual should be placed on the Internet without explicit
written consent from the author. Learning requires practice and feedback, not mere copying.
Unfortunately, there are students and other people who do not realize that students do not learn if
they copy solutions from a solutions manual. Some of these people are willing to put illegal
copies of solution manuals on the Internet either for profit or for free. These illegal copies reduce
student learning and make it more difficult for professors to teach courses. To aid everyone
involved in teaching and learning separation processes, please help protect the integrity of the
Solutions Manual.

—Phillip C. Wankat


SAMPLE: Course Syllabus in Separation Process Engineering p. 4

EXAMPLE Schedule A: Equilibrium Staged Plus Membranes with Computer Labs p. 10

EXAMPLE Schedule B: Classical Equilibrium Staged Course with Computer Lab p. 12

EXAMPLE Schedule C: Vapor-Liquid Separations Course with Computer Lab p.13

EXAMPLE Schedule D: Equilibrium Staged Separations Plus Adsorption, Ion Exchange &
Chromatography with Computer Lab* p. 14
*Assumes students know Fickian Diffusion & Mass Transfer

EXAMPLE Schedule E: Classical Equilibrium Stage Course Without Computer Lab p. 15

EXAMPLE Schedule F: Mass Transfer & Diffusion Plus Mass Transfer Analysis of Distillation,
Absorption, Membrane & Sorption Separations* p.16
*Assumes students have had an Equilibrium-Staged Separations Course

Chapter 1 p. 17
Chapter 2 p. 18
Chapter 3 p. 56
Chapter 4 p. 70
Chapter 5 p. 125
Chapter 6 p. 145
Chapter 7 p. 155
Chapter 8 p. 173
Chapter 9 p. 218
Chapter 10 p. 253
Chapter 11 p. 277
Chapter 12 p. 287
Chapter 13 p. 319
Chapter 14 p. 363
Chapter 15 p. 386
Chapter 16 p. 395
Chapter 17 p. 418
Chapter 18 p. 445

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Phillip C. Wankat
E-mail: (I usually answer quickly between 8 am and
5:30 pm. Use e-mail to communicate with Prof. Wankat for help.)
Office Hours: MWF 10:30-11:50 A.M. These times are reserved for 306 students.
On Wednesdays I will be in the computer lab from 1:30 to 3:20 P.M.
Other times by appointment only. (You are unlikely to find me if you drop
in at a time other than office hours without an appointment.)

TA's – Office hours will be M 2:30 to 3:30, T 1:00 to 3:00 and W 1:00 to 2:30 (starting second
week of semester).

Prerequisites: Must have passed Mass & Energy Balances and Thermodynamics
TEXTBOOK: P.C. Wankat, Separation Process Engineering, Third Edition (formerly
published as of Equilibrium Staged Separation Processes), Prentice Hall,
Goals: By the end of CHE 306 you should be able to:
1. Design flash distillation by hand and computer calculations;
2. Design distillation systems by hand and computer calculations;
3. Design absorbers and strippers by hand and computer calculations;
4. Design extraction systems by hand and computer calculations;
5. Design membrane separation systems.
Importance: Separations constitute 50 to 90% of the cost (capital and operating) of chemical
plants. Distillation is the most important separation method in the chemical and petroleum
industries. Separations are one of the key items which delineate chemical engineering from the
other engineering disciplines.
Course The basic course outline is:
Structure: 1. Introductory Material (1 week)
2. Flash Distillation (1 week)
3. Binary Distillation (2 weeks)
4. Multicomponent Distillation (2 weeks)
5. Complex Distillation (2 weeks)
6. Batch Distillation (1 week)
7. Distillation Design (1 week)
8. Absorption, Stripping, & Extraction (2 weeks)
9. Extraction (1 week)
10. Membrane separations (2 weeks)

The detailed course outline is attached.

The typical weekly schedule will be:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 2 Lectures plus optional help.
Wednesday/Thursday: Computer Lab when scheduled
Since the schedule will sometimes deviate from this pattern, follow your detailed course outline.

Suggested Read book before class. Come to class prepared. There will be
Study short quizzes to encourage preparation. New material
Procedure: will be presented in class as needed. Material in the book that is a review
or is easy to understand will not be lectured on. Ask questions if the book
is not clear. After class, reread the book. Make extensive notes on or in the
book. Before each exam summarize your notes on one page, and then
reduce to 3x5 card (double-sided) you can take into the exam.
The suggested way to do homework: First, work on all problems by
yourself. Then, meet with your study group to check answers and to
complete solution of more difficult problems. Ask for help once these
other efforts have failed. Finally, prepare your own solution to hand in if
the homework will be graded. It is important to solve a lot of problems
including homework that is not handed in.
You should spend 9 to 12 hours (including class & lab time) on this course
every week. If you are spending less, work more problems both
individually and in your study group.

Quizzes: To encourage students to prepare for and attend class, there will be a series
of 10 short quizzes, which are 9% of the course grade. The lowest grade
will not count, which is equivalent to one free absence. After that an
absence will be a zero. Students who turn in a quiz with their name on it
and who stay the entire period and pay attention will automatically earn
50%. There will be no quiz make-ups and no taking quizzes late (Part of
the 50% for attendance is being on time—if you want this credit make
attendance a high priority. In other words, an interview at Purdue is NOT
a valid excuse for missing a quiz.) Missing 2 quizzes for plant trips will
cost 1% of the course grade—a small penalty. Writing another student’s
name on a quiz and turning it in for a grade will be treated as a form of
cheating. Graded quizzes will be passed out in labs or will be available
from the TA.
Homework: There will be 8 homework assignments which are handed in. Students who
solve all of the problems are very likely to see their efforts rewarded by
higher test scores. The homework that is handed in will be 6% of the
course grade. The professor and TAs will grade one problem selected by
the professor and one problem selected by the student—write the problem
you want graded on the top of the assignment. Graded homework
assignments will be passed out in labs or will be available from the TA.
Work in groups on homework is encouraged. Turn in your own solution
(not Xerox copy), but please list names of group members on it.
Exams: Arrange your schedule to be available for the night exams on Sept. 30 and
Nov. 4. The third exam, which is not a cumulative final exam, will be

during finals. Exams (including the lab test) are 70% of the course grade.
Your lowest exam will be 10% and the other three exams will count as
20% each. Exams (except the lab test) are closed book, but students will
be allowed and encouraged to have one 3 x 5 card (double-sided) with
information on it. All electronic devices (other than a calculator) must be
turned off and be buried in your back pack. Use of these devices will be
considered to be cheating. Graded exams will be passed out in labs or will
be available from the TA.

Make-Up Exam: Students are strongly urged to make attendance at exams a very high
personal priority and make appropriate arrangements to be present at all
exams. If an exam is missed students may choose to make it their lowest
exam grade and receive a zero for 10% of their course grade.
Alternatively, a single comprehensive make-up exam (available only for
students who miss a test) will be administered during finals period (after
Exam 3). This will be the only make-up exam available. In cases of
extreme duress (e.g., hospitalization) talk to Prof. Wankat for other
Computer Lab: Computer labs are scheduled for Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want
to switch lab sections see the lab coordinator during the first week of
classes to see if this is possible. Work in lab will initially be done
individually and later in the semester in assigned 3- or 4-person groups.
Feel free to help other students and to ask for help during lab. Laboratory
will use the ASPEN Plus simulation package. Most of the lab assignments
are in your textbook; thus, you will need to bring your textbook to lab.

The laboratory (not including the lab test) will be 15% of the course grade.
Attendance & attention in computer lab is required, and will be 6% of the
course grade. There will be a limited opportunity to do lab in advance or
make-up a missed laboratory, but without help from the TA (arrange with
your TA to show you have done the lab work). Because seating is limited,
students must attend their scheduled laboratory period unless arrangements
are made in advance to attend a lab session that has open seats. Group lab
reports are required for two labs. Lab groups are expected to help each
other for the two labs that require lab reports. Only questions from the
entire group will be answered by the TA or professor for laboratory help.
Lab reports will be limited to two pages of text plus one page of figures
and tables. The two lab reports and the mastery lab quiz each count 3.0%
of the course grade.

There will be a lab test worth 20% of course on November 12th and 13th
during your regularly scheduled lab hours. Work will be done
individually. The lab test will be open book and open notes. The use of e-

mail, the Internet, or old computer files will not be allowed during the lab
test. Plan on being present.
Summary Quizzes 9% (1/2 attendance & attention)
of Grading: Graded Homework 6%
Exam 1 to 3 plus lab test 70% (lowest grade is 10% others are 20%
Lab Grade (attendance, lab reports & lab quiz) 15% (6% attendance)
Extra Credit 0%
Grading Scale: The class will vote if they want to use the traditional A, B, C, D scale or
switch to the +/- scale. The entire class must be graded on the same scale.
Guaranteed Grade Scale for A, B, C, D scale:
90-100 A
80-90 B
70-80 C
60-70 D
Guaranteed Grade Scale for +/- scale:

Grade GPA  Value Recommended  Range

A+,A 4.0 93-­‐100
A-­‐ 3.7 90.0  -­‐  92.9
B+ 3.3 87.0  -­‐  89.9
B 3.0 83.0  -­‐  86.9
B-­‐ 2.7 80.0  -­‐  82.9
C+ 2.3 77.0  -­‐  79.9
C 2.0 73.0  –  76.9
C-­‐ 1.7 70.0  –  72.9
D+ 1.3 67.0  –  69.9
D 1.0 63.0  –  66.9
D-­‐ 0.7  –  becomes   60.0  –  62.9
lowest  passing  
F 0.0 <  60.0

For both scales slightly lower cut off scores may be used at the discretion of the instructor.

Lectures: According to University regulations, it is the responsibility of students to

attend all class sessions and to make up any material that is missed. To aid

students, one of the TAs will take notes of every lecture. These notes will
be placed in reserve in the Potter Library.
Note: There is abundant evidence that students who regularly attend
lectures tend to earn higher grades.
Optional Help The Professor or a TA will hold a help session during the regularly
scheduled class (9:30 to 10:20 a.m.) one day most weeks on Monday,
Wednesday or Friday (see detailed course outline). The Wednesday class
on the day of the two night exams will be an optional help session.
Additional help sessions can be arranged before tests if students request
them. In addition the professor and the TAs will have office hours that you
are strongly encouraged to use. Since office hours are traditionally not
heavily used early in the semester, this is a good time to get into the habit
of attending office hours. Also, feel free to discuss questions with your
laboratory instructor during laboratory.

Feedback to With a very large class it is essentially impossible for a professor to know
Prof. Wankat each student and to be aware of the difficulties they are having in learning
the course material. To provide feedback to Prof. Wankat a group of student
representatives will be constituted with one representative from each
laboratory section. This group will meet with Prof. Wankat once per week to
provide anonymous feedback from all the students in the course.
Professional Students in CHE 306 are continuing on a program of study to become
Behavior: chemical engineers. Engineers are expected to uphold the code of ethics,
which includes “Being Honest,” “Engineers shall build their professional
reputations on the merits of their services,” and “Engineers shall act in
such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity
of the engineering profession.” Students in CHE 306 will be expected to
behave in an ethical and professional manner.
This includes: 1. Honesty on quizzes, exams, and lab test. Cell phones,
pagers, personal computers, MP3 players, personal
digital assistants (e.g., Palm Pilots), & similar
electronic devices must be off and not in sight—no
phone calls, text messaging or use of storage available
in the electronic device. Alphanumerical data or
programs are not allowed in calculators. The use of
head phones is not allowed. Note: Since you will be
allowed the use of a 3x5 card, there is no reason to try
and beat the system.
2. No plagiarism or copying.
3. Claim credit for homework/laboratory only if you were
involved in the solution. [Do NOT turn in a copy that
you do not understand.] This is common sense—not
cheating. Students who copy homework (strictly
speaking this is legal, but stupid) will do poorly on

exams and receive low grades because of this.
4. No disruption of class. Because cell phones are
disruptive, please turn cell phones off before lectures or
lab. In addition, since many students report that when
students talk to neighbors during lecture it is disruptive,
please do not do it.
5. Make a concerted, diligent effort to learn.

EXAMPLE Schedule A: Equilibrium Staged Plus Membranes
with Computer Labs
Skip Chapter 11, 15, 16 and 18
Note: Classes are loaded towards beginning of the semester.
ChE 306, Fall 2009
1 8/24 M Introduction & Overview Separations Chapt. 1
2 8/26 W Phase equil./Flash Dist./Aspen Plus Chapt. 2
3 26&27 W/Th Lab 1 Intro Aspen Plus/Flash Dist. Appendix C2
Bring textbook to all labs except lab test.
4 8/28 F Quiz 1 (Phase Equilibrium/Flash). Lecture: Flash Dist. Chapt. 2
5 8/31 M Binary & MultiComponent Flash distillation Chapt. 2
6 9/05 W Quiz 2 (Binary Flash, Closed book, can have 3x5 card).
Start distillation. Chapt. 3
7 2&3 W/Th Lab 2 (FRNY 1022) Flash Dist. Appendix Chapt 2, Lab 2
8 9/4 F Distillation McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
9/7 M Labor Day – No class and no office hours

9 9/9 W HW 1 due. Lecture: McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4

10 9&10 W/Th Lab 3. Distillation. Appendix Chapter 4, Lab 3.
11 9/11 F Quiz 3 (McCabe-Thiele – open book). McCabe-Thiele C4
12 9/14 M McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
13 9/16 W McCabe-Thiele & column design Chapt. 10
14 16&17 W/Th Lab 4. Distillation design. App. C6, do lab 4, and, if time, start lab 5.
15 9/18 F HW 2 due. Quiz 4 (McCabe-Thiele, 3x5 card)
M.C. distillation profiles/calculations Chapt. 5
9/21 M Optional Help
16 9/23 W M.C. Distillation – Short-cut Chapt. 7
17 23&24 W/Th Mastery lab quiz – counts same as lab report. Finish lab 5 App C6.
18 9/25 F Quiz 5 (M.C. Distillation, 3x5 card).
M.C. Distillation – Matrix Solutions Chapt. 6
19 9/28 M HW 3 due. Finish M.C. Dist. Review homework Chapt. 6
9/30 W Optional Class – Help Session
20 9/30 W Night Exam, Lilly 1105, Scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30.
(a 3x5 card with information is allowed; otherwise, closed book and closed notes)
9/30 &10/01 W/Th No Lab
21 10/02 F Review Exam. Start complex distillation Chapt. 8
22 10/05 M Complex distillation Chapt. 8
23 10/07 W Quiz 6 (Complex distillation, open book)
Complex distillation Chapt. 8
24 7&8 W/Th Lab 6 Complex distillation, App. C8, lab 7 or lab 8
NOTE: Some years I do lab 6 in App. C8 or assign as a group HW.
10/9 F No class & no office hours
10/12 M October Break – No class and no office hours
10/14 W Optional Help on HW 4 (Run by TAs)
25 Oct 14/15 W/Th Lab 7 Extractive distillation, in lab groups (Report Due 10/22 or
10/23 in lab) App. C8, lab 9, pp. 273-275
NOTE: In 2009 lab 10, App. C10 did not yet exist. I would add this lab.
26 10/16 F HW 4 due. Absorption & stripping Chapt. 12

27 10/19 M Absorption & Stripping Chapt. 12
28 10/21 W Quiz 7. Absorp. & Stripping, Start Extraction Chapts. 12 &13
29 21&22 W/Th Lab 8 Absorption & Stripping (Report Due 10/29 or 10/30 in lab)
App. C12, lab 11, pp. 421-423
30 10/23 F HW 5 due. Start extraction Chapt. 13
10/26 M Optional help
31 10/28 W Extraction Chapt. 13
32 28&29 W/Th Lab 9 Extraction, App. C14, lab 12, pp. 499-500
33 10/30 F Quiz 8 (Extraction, 3x5 card). Extension McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 14
34 11/02 M HW 6 due. Review HW. Finish McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 14
11/04 W Optional Help
35 11/04 W Night Exam 2, Lilly 1105, Scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30.
(a 3x5 card with information is allowed; otherwise, closed book and closed notes)
11/04 & 11/05 W/Th No Lab
36 11/06 F Review exam.
11/09 M No class – AIChE National
11/11 W No class – AIChE National
NOTE: Purdue’s semester has 44 class periods plus the exam in Finals. The no class and optional help
periods are included to comply with university regulations.
11/12 W/Th No lab
37 11/13 F Optional help with TAs
38 11/16 M Batch distillation Chapt 9
39 11/18 W Batch distillation Chapt. 9
40* Nov 18&19 W/Th Lab Exam* (FRNY 1022)
11/20 F Batch Distillation Quiz 9 (batch dist, open book) Chapt.9
11/23 M No class
Thanksgiving Vacation
41 11/30 M HW 7 due. Start Membrane Separations Chapt. 17
42 12/02 W Membrane separations. Quiz 10 (Membranes, open book). Chapt. 17
Dec 2&3 W/Th No Lab
43 12/04 F Membrane separations. Chapt. 17
12/07 M Optional help
12/9 W Optional help
Dec 9&10 W/Th No lab
44 12/11 F HW 8 due. Membranes– Solution to HW 8. Review for exam
Saturday 12/19 EE 129 EXAM 3. Not cumulative, covers batch distillation & membrane
separations. A 3x5 card with information is allowed; otherwise, closed book/closed notes.


FINALS TBA – Makeup Exam for exam 1, 2, or 3 (Cumulative)

* Do NOT schedule any conflicts with lab test on Nov 18 and 19.

Readings are in Separation Process Engineering.

In  the  event  of  a  major  campus  emergency,  course  requirements,  deadlines  and  grading  
percentages  are  subject  to  changes  that  may  be  necessitated  by  a  revised  semester  calendar  
or  other  circumstances.    Go  to  Blackboard  to  get  information  about  changes  in  this  course.

EXAMPLE Schedule B: Classical Equilibrium Staged Course
with Computer Lab
Skip Chapters 15, 16, 17, 18
Class Subject Reading:
1 Introduction. Phase Equilibrium Chapt. 1
2 Phase Equilibrium, Start Flash Chapt. 2
3 Flash – Binary & Multicomponent Chapt. 2
4 Flash – Binary & Multicomponent Chapt. 2
5 Lab 1 Intro to Aspen Plus. Lab 1, App. C2
6 Flash – MultiComponent and Aspen Plus Chapt. 2
7 Binary Distillation Chapt. 3
8 Lab 2 – Flash Distillation. Lab 2, App C2
9 McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
10 McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
11 Lab 3– Binary Distillation. Lab 3, App C4
12 McCabe-Thiele
13 Profiles & Intro. M. C. Distillation Chapt. 5
14 Lab 4 – M. C. Distillation. Lab 4, App C6
15 EXAM #1.
16 Review Test & M. C. Dist. Mass Balances Chapt. 5
17 Lab 5 - M.C. Distillation. Lab 5, App C6
18 M. C. Distillation Chapt. 6
19 Short Cut Distillation Chapt. 7
20 Lab 6 – Complex Distillation, Lab 7, App C8
21 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
22 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
23 Lab 7 -Complex Distillation, Lab 8, App C8
24 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
25 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
26 Lab 8. Extractive Distillation, Lab 9, App C8
27 Staged Col. Design. Chapt. 10
28 Packed Cols, Distl. Costs. Energy Conservation Chapts. 10 & 11
29 Lab 9. Tray Rating, Lab 10, App C10
30 Exam review
31 EXAM #2
32 Review Exam
33 Absorption & Stripping Chapt. 12
34 Absorption & Stripping Chapt. 12
35 Lab 10 – Absorption/Stripping; Lab 11, App C12
36 Immiscible Extraction Chapt. 13
37 Miscible Extraction Chapt. 13
38 Lab 11 – Extraction; Lab 12, App C13
39 Miscible Extraction Chapt. 13
40 Extension McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 14
41 Lab Test
42 Batch Distillation Chapt. 9
43 Batch Distillation Chapt. 9
44 Exam Review

Separation Process Engineering Includes Mass Transfer Analysis 3rd Edition Wankat Solutions Manual
Full Download:

EXAMPLE Schedule C: Vapor-Liquid Separations Course

with Computer Lab
Skip Chapters 13, 14, part 16, 17, 18
Class Subject Reading:
1 Introduction. Phase Equilibrium Chapt. 1
2 Phase Equilibrium, Start Flash Chapt. 2
3 Flash – Binary & Multicomponent Chapt. 2
4 Flash – Binary & Multicomponent Chapt. 2
5 Lab 1 Intro to Aspen Plus. Lab 1, App. C2
6 Flash – MultiComponent and Aspen Plus Chapt. 2
7 Binary Distillation Chapt. 3
8 Lab 2 – Flash Distillation. Lab 2, App C2
9 McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
10 McCabe-Thiele Chapt. 4
11 Lab 3– Binary Distillation. Lab 3, App C4
12 McCabe-Thiele
13 Profiles & Intro. M. C. Distillation Chapt. 5
14 Lab 4 – M. C. Distillation. Lab 4, App C6
15 EXAM #1.
16 Review Test & M. C. Dist. Mass Balances Chapt. 5
17 Lab 5 - M.C. Distillation. Lab 5, App C6
18 M. C. Distillation Chapt. 6
19 Short Cut Distillation Chapt. 7
20 Lab 6 – Complex Distillation, Lab 7, App C8
21 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
22 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
23 Lab 7 -Complex Distillation, Lab 8, App C8
24 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
25 Complex Distillation Chapt. 8
26 Lab 8. Extractive Distillation, Lab 9, App C8
27 Staged Col. Design. Chapt. 10
28 Packed Cols, Distl. Costs. Energy Conservation Chapts. 10 & 11
29 Lab 9. Tray Rating, Lab 10, App C10
30 Exam review
31 EXAM #2
32 Review Exam
33 Absorption & Stripping Chapt. 12
34 Absorption & Stripping Chapt. 12
35 Lab 10 – Absorption/Stripping; Lab 11, App C12
36 Mass Transfer Review Fickian Diffusion & Mass Transfer Coef. C. 15
37 Maxwell-Stefan Diffusion & Mass Transfer Chapter 15
38 Lab 11 – Lab Test
39 Maxwell-Stefan Diffusion & Mass Transfer Chapter 15
40 Rate-Based Design of Distillation Chapter 16
41 Lab 12 – Rate-Based Design of Distillation, Lab 13, App C16
42 Batch Distillation Chapt. 9
43 Batch Distillation Chapt. 9
44 Exam Review


This is sample only, Download all chapters at:

More news on internet:
Acoustics is the branch of physics that deals with the study of all mechanical
waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound,
ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an
acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics technology may be
called an acoustical engineer. The application of acoustics is present in almost all
aspects of modern society with the most obvious being the audio and noise control

Hearing is one of the most crucial means of survival in the animal world, and
speech is one of the most distinctive characteristics of human development and
culture. Accordingly, the science of acoustics spreads across many facets of human
society—music, medicine, architecture, industrial production, warfare and more.
Likewise, animal species such as songbirds and frogs use sound and hearing as a
key element of mating rituals or marking territories. Art, craft, science and
technology have provoked one another to advance the whole, as in many other
fields of knowledge. Robert Bruce Lindsay's 'Wheel of Acoustics' is a well
accepted overview of the various fields in acoustics.[1]

The word "acoustic" is derived from the Greek word ἀκουστικός (akoustikos),
meaning "of or for hearing, ready to hear"[2] and that from ἀκουστός (akoustos),
"heard, audible",[3] which in turn derives from the verb ἀκούω (akouo), "I

The Latin synonym is "sonic", after which the term sonics used to be a synonym
for acoustics[5] and later a branch of acoustics.[6] Frequencies above and below
the audible range are called "ultrasonic" and "infrasonic", respectively.

1 History
1.1 Early research in acoustics
1.2 Age of Enlightenment and onward
2 Fundamental concepts of acoustics
2.1 Definition
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2.3 Wave propagation: frequency
2.4 Transduction in acoustics
3 Acoustician
3.1 Education
4 Subdisciplines
4.1 Archaeoacoustics
4.2 Aeroacoustics
4.3 Acoustic signal processing
4.4 Architectural acoustics
4.5 Bioacoustics
4.6 Electroacoustics
4.7 Environmental noise and soundscapes
4.8 Musical acoustics
4.9 Psychoacoustics
4.10 Speech
4.11 Ultrasonics
4.12 Underwater acoustics
4.13 Vibration and dynamics
5 Professional societies
6 Academic journals
7 See also
8 Notes and references
9 Further reading
10 External links
Early research in acoustics

The fundamental and the first 6 overtones of a vibrating string. The earliest records
of the study of this phenomenon are attributed to the philosopher Pythagoras in the
6th century BC.
In the 6th century BC, the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras wanted to know
why some combinations of musical sounds seemed more beautiful than others, and
he found answers in terms of numerical ratios representing the harmonic overtone
series on a string. He is reputed to have observed that when the lengths of vibrating
strings are expressible as ratios of integers (e.g. 2 to 3, 3 to 4), the tones produced
will be harmonious, and the smaller the integers the more harmonious the sounds.
If, for example, a string of a certain length would sound particularly harmonious
with a string of twice the length (other factors being equal). In modern parlance, if
a string sounds the note C when plucked, a string twice as long will sound a C an
octave lower. In one system of musical tuning, the tones in between are then given
by 16:9 for D, 8:5 for E, 3:2 for F, 4:3 for G, 6:5 for A, and 16:15 for B, in
ascending order.[7]

Aristotle (384–322 BC) understood that sound consisted of compressions and

rarefactions of air which "falls upon and strikes the air which is next to it...",[8] a
very good expression of the nature of wave motion.

In about 20 BC, the Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius wrote a treatise on the
acoustic properties of theaters including discussion of interference, echoes, and
reverberation—the beginnings of architectural acoustics.[9] In Book V of his De
architectura (The Ten Books of Architecture) Vitruvius describes sound as a wave
comparable to a water wave extended to three dimensions, which, when interrupted
by obstructions, would flow back and break up following waves. He described the
ascending seats in ancient theaters as designed to prevent this deterioration of
sound and also recommended bronze vessels of appropriate sizes be placed in
theaters to resonate with the fourth, fifth and so on, up to the double octave, in
order to resonate with the more desirable, harmonious notes.[10][11][12]

During the Islamic golden age, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī (973-1048) is believed to
postulated that the speed of sound was much slower than the speed of

Principles of acoustics have been applied since ancient times : A Roman theatre in
the city of Amman.
The physical understanding of acoustical processes advanced rapidly during and
after the Scientific Revolution. Mainly Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) but also Marin
Mersenne (1588–1648), independently, discovered the complete laws of vibrating
strings (completing what Pythagoras and Pythagoreans had started 2000 years
earlier). Galileo wrote "Waves are produced by the vibrations of a sonorous body,
which spread through the air, bringing to the tympanum of the ear a stimulus which
the mind interprets as sound", a remarkable statement that points to the beginnings
of physiological and psychological acoustics. Experimental measurements of the
speed of sound in air were carried out successfully between 1630 and 1680 by a
number of investigators, prominently Mersenne. Meanwhile, Newton (1642–1727)
derived the relationship for wave velocity in solids, a cornerstone of physical
acoustics (Principia, 1687).

Age of Enlightenment and onward

The eighteenth century saw major advances in acoustics as mathematicians applied
the new techniques of calculus to elaborate theories of sound wave propagation. In
the nineteenth century the major figures of mathematical acoustics were Helmholtz
in Germany, who consolidated the field of physiological acoustics, and Lord
Rayleigh in England, who combined the previous knowledge with his own copious
contributions to the field in his monumental work The Theory of Sound (1877).
Also in the 19th century, Wheatstone, Ohm, and Henry developed the analogy
between electricity and acoustics.

The twentieth century saw a burgeoning of technological applications of the large

body of scientific knowledge that was by then in place. The first such application
was Sabine’s groundbreaking work in architectural acoustics, and many others
followed. Underwater acoustics was used for detecting submarines in the first
World War. Sound recording and the telephone played important roles in a global
transformation of society. Sound measurement and analysis reached new levels of
accuracy and sophistication through the use of electronics and computing. The
ultrasonic frequency range enabled wholly new kinds of application in medicine
and industry. New kinds of transducers (generators and receivers of acoustic
energy) were invented and put to use.

Fundamental concepts of acoustics

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

At Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a LARES system is combined with a zoned sound

reinforcement system, both suspended on an overhead steel trellis, to synthesize an
indoor acoustic environment outdoors.
Acoustics is defined by ANSI/ASA S1.1-2013 as "(a) Science of sound, including
its production, transmission, and effects, including biological and psychological
effects. (b) Those qualities of a room that, together, determine its character with
respect to auditory effects."

The study of acoustics revolves around the generation, propagation and reception
of mechanical waves and vibrations.
The fundamental acoustical process
The steps shown in the above diagram can be found in any acoustical event or
process. There are many kinds of cause, both natural and volitional. There are
many kinds of transduction process that convert energy from some other form into
sonic energy, producing a sound wave. There is one fundamental equation that
describes sound wave propagation, the acoustic wave equation, but the phenomena
that emerge from it are varied and often complex. The wave carries energy
throughout the propagating medium. Eventually this energy is transduced again
into other forms, in ways that again may be natural and/or volitionally contrived.
The final effect may be purely physical or it may reach far into the biological or
volitional domains. The five basic steps are found equally well whether we are
talking about an earthquake, a submarine using sonar to locate its foe, or a band
playing in a rock concert.

The central stage in the acoustical process is wave propagation. This falls within
the domain of physical acoustics. In fluids, sound propagates primarily as a
pressure wave. In solids, mechanical waves can take many forms including
longitudinal waves, transverse waves and surface waves.

Acoustics looks first at the pressure levels and frequencies in the sound wave and
how the wave interacts with the environment. This interaction can be described as
either a diffraction, interference or a reflection or a mix of the three. If several
media are present, a refraction can also occur. Transduction processes are also of
special importance to acoustics.

Wave propagation: pressure levels

Main article: Sound pressure

Spectrogram of a young girl saying "oh, no"

In fluids such as air and water, sound waves propagate as disturbances in the
ambient pressure level. While this disturbance is usually small, it is still noticeable
to the human ear. The smallest sound that a person can hear, known as the
threshold of hearing, is nine orders of magnitude smaller than the ambient
pressure. The loudness of these disturbances is related to the sound pressure level
(SPL) which is measured on a logarithmic scale in decibels.

Wave propagation: frequency

Physicists and acoustic engineers tend to discuss sound pressure levels in terms of
frequencies, partly because this is how our ears interpret sound. What we
experience as "higher pitched" or "lower pitched" sounds are pressure vibrations
having a higher or lower number of cycles per second. In a common technique of
acoustic measurement, acoustic signals are sampled in time, and then presented in
more meaningful forms such as octave bands or time frequency plots. Both of
these popular methods are used to analyze sound and better understand the acoustic

The entire spectrum can be divided into three sections: audio, ultrasonic, and
infrasonic. The audio range falls between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. This range is
important because its frequencies can be detected by the human ear. This range has
a number of applications, including speech communication and music. The
ultrasonic range refers to the very high frequencies: 20,000 Hz and higher. This
range has shorter wavelengths which allow better resolution in imaging
technologies. Medical applications such as ultrasonography and elastography rely
on the ultrasonic frequency range. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest
frequencies are known as the infrasonic range. These frequencies can be used to
study geological phenomena such as earthquakes.

Analytic instruments such as the spectrum analyzer facilitate visualization and

measurement of acoustic signals and their properties. The spectrogram produced
by such an instrument is a graphical display of the time varying pressure level and
frequency profiles which give a specific acoustic signal its defining character.

Transduction in acoustics
An inexpensive low fidelity 3.5 inch driver, typically found in small radios
A transducer is a device for converting one form of energy into another. In an
electroacoustic context, this means converting sound energy into electrical energy
(or vice versa). Electroacoustic transducers include loudspeakers, microphones,
hydrophones and sonar projectors. These devices convert a sound pressure wave to
or from an electric signal. The most widely used transduction principles are
electromagnetism, electrostatics and piezoelectricity.

The transducers in most common loudspeakers (e.g. woofers and tweeters), are
electromagnetic devices that generate waves using a suspended diaphragm driven
by an electromagnetic voice coil, sending off pressure waves. Electret microphones
and condenser microphones employ electrostatics—as the sound wave strikes the
microphone's diaphragm, it moves and induces a voltage change. The ultrasonic
systems used in medical ultrasonography employ piezoelectric transducers. These
are made from special ceramics in which mechanical vibrations and electrical
fields are interlinked through a property of the material itself.

An acoustician is an expert in the science of sound.[15]

There are many types of acoustician, but they usually have a Bachelor's degree or
higher qualification. Some possess a degree in acoustics, while others enter the
discipline via studies in fields such as physics or engineering. Much work in
acoustics requires a good grounding in Mathematics and science. Many acoustic
scientists work in research and development. Some conduct basic research to
advance our knowledge of the perception (e.g. hearing, psychoacoustics or
neurophysiology) of speech, music and noise. Other acoustic scientists advance
understanding of how sound is affected as it moves through environments, e.g.
Underwater acoustics, Architectural acoustics or Structural acoustics. Others areas
of work are listed under subdisciplines below. Acoustic scientists work in
government, university and private industry laboratories. Many go on to work in
Acoustical Engineering. Some positions, such as Faculty (academic staff) require a
Doctor of Philosophy.

These subdisciplines are a slightly modified list from the PACS (Physics and
Astronomy Classification Scheme) coding used by the Acoustical Society of

Main article: Archaeoacoustics

The Divje Babe flute

Archaeoacoustics is the study of sound within archaeology. This typically involves
studying the acoustics of archaeological sites and artefacts.[17]

Main article: Aeroacoustics
Aeroacoustics is the study of noise generated by air movement, for instance via
turbulence, and the movement of sound through the fluid air. This knowledge is
applied in acoustical engineering to study how to quieten aircraft. Aeroacoustics is
important to understanding how wind musical instruments work.[18]

Acoustic signal processing

See also: Audio signal processing
Acoustic signal processing is the electronic manipulation of acoustic signals.
Applications include: active noise control; design for hearing aids or cochlear
implants; echo cancellation; music information retrieval, and perceptual coding
(e.g. MP3 or Opus).[19]
Architectural acoustics
Main article: Architectural acoustics

Symphony Hall Boston where auditorium acoustics began

Architectural acoustics (also known as building acoustics) involves the scientific
understanding of how to achieve a good sound within a building.[20] It typically
involves the study of speech intelligibility, speech privacy, music quality, and
vibration reduction in the built environment.[21]

Main article: Bioacoustics
Bioacoustics is the scientific study of the hearing and calls of animal calls, as well
as how animals are affected by the acoustic and sounds of their habitat.[22]

See also: Audio Engineering and Sound reinforcement system
This subdiscipline is concerned with the recording, manipulation and reproduction
of audio using electronics.[23] This might include products such as mobile phones,
large scale public address systems or virtual reality systems in research

Environmental noise and soundscapes

Main article: Environmental noise
See also: Noise pollution and Noise control
Environmental acoustics is concerned with noise and vibration caused by
railways,[24] road traffic, aircraft, industrial equipment and recreational
activities.[25] The main aim of these studies is to reduce levels of environmental
noise and vibration. Research work now also has a focus on the positive use of
sound in urban environments: soundscapes and tranquility.[26]
Musical acoustics
Main article: Musical acoustics

The primary auditory cortex is one of the main areas associated with superior pitch
Musical acoustics is the study of the physics of acoustic instruments; the audio
signal processing used in electronic music; the computer analysis of music and
composition, and the perception and cognitive neuroscience of music.[27]

Main article: Psychoacoustics
Psychoacoustics explains how humans respond to sounds.[28]

Main article: Speech
Acousticians study the production, processing and perception of speech. Speech
recognition and Speech synthesis are two important areas of speech processing
using computers. The subject also overlaps with the disciplines of physics,
physiology, psychology, and linguistics.[29]

Main article: Ultrasound

Ultrasound image of a fetus in the womb, viewed at 12 weeks of pregnancy

Ultrasonics deals with sounds at frequencies too high to be heard by humans.
Specialisms include medical ultrasonics (including medical ultrasonography),
sonochemistry, material characterisation and underwater acoustics (Sonar).[30]

Underwater acoustics
Main article: Underwater acoustics
Underwater acoustics is the scientific study of natural and man-made sounds
underwater. Applications include sonar to locate submarines, underwater
communication by whales, climate change monitoring by measuring sea
temperatures acoustically, sonic weapons,[31] and marine bioacoustics.[32]

Vibration and dynamics

Main article: Vibration
This is the study of how mechanical systems vibrate and interact with their
surroundings. Applications might include: ground vibrations from railways;
vibration isolation to reduce vibration in operating theatres; studying how vibration
can damage health (vibration white finger); vibration control to protect a building
from earthquakes, or measuring how structure-borne sound moves through

Professional societies
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
The European Acoustics Association (EAA)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Institute of Acoustics (IoA UK)
The Audio Engineering Society (AES)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Noise Control and Acoustics Division
International Commission for Acoustics (ICA)
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Aeroacoustics (AIAA)
International Computer Music Association (ICMA)
Academic journals
Main category: Acoustics journals
Acta Acustica united with Acustica
Applied Acoustics
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA)
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Express Letters (JASA-EL)
Journal of the Audio Engineering Society
Journal of Sound and Vibration (JSV)
Journal of Vibration and Acoustics American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Ultrasonics (journal)