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Acoustics is a branch of physics that studies sound, namely mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids. A scientist that works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician. The application of acoustics in technology is called acoustical engineering. There is often much overlap and interaction between the interests of acousticians and acoustical engineers.

...[A]coustics is characterized by its reliance on combinations of physical principles drawn from other sources; and that the primary task of modern physical acoustics is to effect a fusion of the principles normally adhering to other sciences into a coherent basis for understanding, measuring, controlling, and using the whole gamut of vibrational phenomena in any material.

Origins in Acoustics. F.V. Hunt. Yale University Press, 1978

Divisions of acoustics

The following are the main sub-disciplines of acoustics. ( PACS. American Institute of Physics, Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme.)

Subdivisions of psychological interest

Other subdivisions

  • Acoustic signal processing.
  • Aeroacoustics is the study of aerodynamic sound, generated when a fluid flow interacts with a solid surface or with another flow. It has particular application to aeronautics, examples being the study of sound made by jets and the physics of shock waves (sonic booms).
  • Architectural acoustics is the study of how sound and buildings interact including the behavior of sound in concert halls and auditoriums but also in office buildings, factories and homes.
  • Physical acoustics is the study of the detailed interaction of sound with materials and fluids and includes, for example, sonoluminescence (the emission of light by bubbles in a liquid excited by sound) and thermoacoustics (the interaction of sound and heat).
  • Structural acoustics and vibration is the study of how sound and mechanical structures interact; for example, the transmission of sound through walls and the radiation of sound from vehicle panels.
  • Transduction is the study of how sound is generated and measured by loudspeakers, microphones, sonar projectors, hydrophones, ultrasonic transducers and sensors.

See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts


  • Hunt, F.V. (1978). Origins in Acoustics, Yale University Press.
  • Leo L. Beranek. Acoustics. First edition - 1954. Revised edition - 1986. American Institute of Physics, New York: 1954 (1986). ISBN 088318494X
  • Malcolm J. Crocker. Encyclopedia of Acoustics. Wiley, New York, 1997.
  • Frederick V. Hunt. Origins in Acoustics: The Science of Sound from Antiquity to the Age of Newton. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1978. ISBN 0300022204
  • Raymond D. Kent. Acoustic Analysis of Speech, 2nd Edition. Singular, 2001. ISBN 0769301126
  • Christopher L. Morfey. Dictionary of Acoustics. Academic Press, San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-506940-5
  • Philip M. Morse and K. U. Ingard. Theoretical Acoustics. McGraw-Hill Education, 1968. ISBN 0070433305
  • J. M. Pickett. The Acoustics of Speech Communication: Fundamentals, Speech Perception Theory, and Technology. Allyn & Bacon, 1998. ISBN 0205198872


Additional material



External links

CategoryAuditory perception

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