Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Stephen E. Guffey.


Active noise control (ANC) is particularly useful in hard-walled ducts where plane waves propagate. Higher order mode waves are much more difficult to control. Basic acoustic principles dictate that the cut-on frequency at which higher order modes will first begin to eclipse simple plane waves in a duct will be determined by the cross-sectional diameter of the duct. The lowest frequency for higher order modes will increase as duct diameter decreases. Therefore, the range of frequencies where plane waves dominate will be greater and effective control using ANC better as duct diameter decreases. The result is that somewhat higher frequencies can be controlled with ANC for smaller diameters. To test those suppositions, a commercially-available ANC system was used to reduce random noise in round ducts having five different diameters. Results showed that insertion loss (IL) ranged from 5 to 30 dB in frequencies ranging from 40--1000 Hz, and varied inversely with size as expected. The same tests were conducted on a rectangular duct with one cross-sectional dimension fixed and one varied at seven different sizes. Results showed similar IL from 5 to 30 dB that varied inversely with size. If smaller diameters have broader frequency ranges that can be controlled with ANC, perhaps one could extend the frequency range for a large cross-section by partitioning it into smaller cross-sections. This hypothesis was tested by two methods of cross-sectional partitioning. Partitioning was achieved in one design by inserting a smaller duct inside a large duct. In a second design, a cross-shaped partition was inserted inside the large duct. ANC IL results were 1.7 to 2 dB better for the large duct partitioned by a smaller inner duct than the large duct alone (p=0.0146 for low frequency and p=0.0333 for high frequency). ANC insertion loss was 5.8 dB better for the large duct partitioned by a cross-shaped splitter at high frequencies than the large duct alone (p=0.0003). However, the cross-shaped partition system was 5.6 dB less effective at low frequencies than the large duct ANC IL alone (p<0.0001).