Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. David W. Herrin

Second Advisor

Dr. Tingwen Wu


This dissertation examines the assessment and mitigation of airborne noise from power generation equipment.

The first half of the dissertation investigates the diagnosis and treatment of combustion oscillations in boilers. Sound is produced by the flame and is reflected downstream from the combustion chamber. The reflected sound waves perturb the mixture flow or equivalence ratio increasing the heat release pulsations and the accompanying sound produced by the flame. A feedback loop model for determining the likelihood of and diagnosing combustion oscillations was reviewed, enhanced, and then validated. The current work applies the feedback loop stability model to two boilers, which exhibited combustion oscillations. Additionally, a feedback loop model was developed for equivalence ratio fluctuations and validated. For the first boiler, the combustion oscillation problem is primarily related to the geometry of the burner and the intake system. For the second boiler, the model indicated that the combustion oscillations were due to equivalence ratio fluctuations. Principles for both measuring and simulating the acoustic impedance are summarized. An approach for including the effect of structural-acoustic coupling was developed. Additionally, a method for determining the impedance above the plane wave cut-off frequency, using the acoustic FEM, of the boiler was proposed.

The second half of the dissertation examines the modeling of bar silencers. Bar silencers are used to mitigate the airborne noise from large power generation equipment (especially gas turbines). Due to the large dimensions of the full cross section, a small representative cell is isolated from the entire array for analysis purposes. To predict the acoustical performance of the isolated cell for different geometric configurations, a numerical method based on the direct mixed-body boundary element method (BEM) was used. An analytical solution for a simplified circular geometry was also derived to serve as a comparison tool for the BEM. Additionally, a parametric study focusing on the effects of flow resistivity, perforate porosity, length of bars, and cross-sectional area ratio was performed. A new approach was proposed to evaluate the transmission loss based on a reciprocal work identity. Moreover, extension of the transmission loss computation above the plane wave cut-off frequency was demonstrated.