SAE TECHNICAL PAPER SERIES
2005012495
On Predicting Aeroacoustic Performance of Ducts with Broadband Noise Source Models
Ashok D. Khondge, Sandeep D. Sovani and SungEun Kim
Fluent Inc.
Steven C. Guzy and Ashraf A. Farag
Delphi Thermal and Interior
SAE 2005 Noise and Vibration Conference and Exhibition Traverse City, Michigan May 1619, 2005
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2005012495
On Predicting Aeroacoustic Performance of Ducts with Broadband Noise Source Models
Ashok D. Khondge, Sandeep D. Sovani* and SungEun Kim
Fluent Inc.
Copyright © 2005 SAE International
ABSTRACT
A numerical method of predicting aeroacoustic
performance of HVAC ducts is presented here. The method comprises of two steps. First, the steady state flow structure inside a duct is simulated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). A kepsilon based turbulence model is used. In the second step broadband noise source models are used to estimate the sound power generation within the duct. In particular, models estimating dipole and quadrupole sound source strengths are studied.
A baseline generic duct geometry was studied with 3
additional design variations. The loudness rankings of these three designs were determined numerically. Simultaneously, the sound generated by these three designs was measured on a flow bench with a microphone kept downstream of the duct outlet. The numerically predicted loudness rankings were compared
with experimentally determined rankings and the two are
found to be in agreement, thus validating the numerical method.
INTRODUCTION
Noise generated in automotive HVAC ducts can often be very loud and cause discomfort and distraction to the driver and passengers. HVAC system manufacturers therefore take significant efforts to optimize noise
generated by ducts. Todate these efforts mostly comprise of expensive experimental noise testing due to
the lack of practically usable numerical methods that can
predict aerodynamically generated noise in ducts. It is
highly desirable to have numerical methods of predicting duct acoustic performance for many reasons. First, numerical analysis is often quite inexpensive compared to experimental testing. Moreover, numerical analysis
can be done in the early stages of the design process to
* Corresponding Author
Steven C. Guzy and Ashraf A. Farag
Delphi Thermal and Interior
provide design direction even before prototypes are built. Also, numerical analysis easily provides much greater insight into the physics involved compared to experimental measurement.
Numerical simulation of duct noise has received attention from researchers ^{1}^{,} ^{2}^{,} ^{3}^{,} ^{4} . Though these works provide excellent methods of computing sound propagation, they lack detailed calculations of sound generation.
To determine the loudness of a duct, it is essential to accurately simulate sound sources. Automotive HVAC duct noise is almost exclusively aerodynamic noise, i.e. noise generated by fluid flow. It is typically caused by two aspects, one, the rotating blades of the blower, and two, geometric complexities in the duct. Both these cause the flow to be unsteady and turbulent and generate noise.
There are four primary approaches of numerically modeling aeroacoustic phenomena. In order of decreasing computational effort, these are (a)
computational aeroacoustics (CAA)
, (b) the
coupling of CFD and a sound propagation solver ^{1}^{1}^{,} ^{1}^{2} , (c)
and (d)
integral sound propagation models
broadband noise source models. Details of these
approaches are presented in other articles ^{1}^{1}^{,} ^{1}^{2} , along
with
5,
6,
13,
7,
8,
^{1}^{4}^{,}
9,
^{1}^{5}
10
examples 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 .
Of these, the first three methods require wellresolved transient CFD simulations, since they aim to determine the actual timevarying soundpressure signal at the receiver, and from that, the sound spectrum. In several practical engineering situations, only the locations and relative strengths of sound sources need to be determined rather than the sound spectra at the receivers. If the sound is broadband (i.e. lacking any prominent tones characterized by sharp peaks in the spectrum), the source strengths can be evaluated with
reasonable accuracy from the timeaveraged structure of the turbulent flow in the source regions.
Turbulence is the primary cause of sound in aeroacoustics, so in a broad sense, regions of the flow field where turbulence is strong produce louder sources of sound. A number of analytical models referred to as broadband noise source models synthesize sound at points in the flow field from local flow and turbulence quantities and estimate local sound source strengths. The key advantage of these models is that they require very modest computational resources compared to the other three methods. Broadband noise models only need a steady state flow solution, whereas the other methods require wellresolved transient flow solutions. However, the drawback of the broadband noise source models is that they are not able to predict sound spectra at receiver locations. They can only qualitatively indicate which sound sources are stronger than others.
One important practical aspect where broadband noise source models can be used is in determining loudness rankings of different design variations of an object. In the present work two broadband noise models are used to determine loudness rankings of five different duct designs. The computationally predicted noise rankings are compared with experimentally measured rankings.
PROBLEM STATEMENT
The aim of the present study was to determine whether broadband noise models have the ability to correctly predict loudness rankings of automotive HVAC ducts/modules. For this a generic duct design, which contains some of the basic characteristics of HVAC module, is considered with two additional design variations. The baseline design is presented in Figure 1.
The duct design is purposely kept generic so that it can
be widely used as a benchmark in the future. Three
important features prominently found in actual automotive HVAC ducts/modules are included in this design. They are, a sudden expansion (accompanied by
a change in crosssection shape from round to
rectangular), a bend, and a side cavity. Dimensional details of the baseline duct are shown in Figure 2.
The baseline duct is referred to as Design1 hence forward. Designs 2, 3, and 4 are exactly same as Design 1, except they have a baffle immediately upstream of the cavity. In Designs 2, 3, and 4 the baffle height is 0.03 m, 0.07 m, and 0.11 m respectively. In all designs the baffle
Figure 1. Baseline duct geometry.
Figure 2. Dimensional details of the baseline duct (Design1). All dimensions are in meters.
(a) Design2
(b) Design3
(c) Design4 Figure 3. Crosssections of the different designs. Dimensions are in meters.
is 0.0016 m thick. See Figure 3 for crosssections of Designs 2 through 4.Noise rankings of these duct designs are calculated by conducting numerical simulations and are compared with experimentally measured rankings to determine if the broadband noise models studied predict noise rankings accurately.
NUMERICAL METHOD
The numerical simulation method comprises of two steps. First, a steady state CFD simulation of flow passing through the duct is conducted. In the second stage, the broadband noise models are used to estimate
acoustic source power from the results of the CFD simulation. Both these steps are conducted with the commercial CFD code FLUENT 6.2.16 ^{1}^{6} .
COMPUTATIONAL DOMAIN AND MESH
The computational domain comprises of the duct and a large plenum at its outlet that represents the open atmosphere.
Various views of the mesh crosssection along the baseline duct’s center plane are shown in Figure 4. The volume mesh was composed of a total of 2 million exclusively hexahedral cells. A fine mesh resolution is maintained in regions where high gradients are expected, such as the region in close proximity of the duct walls and the shear regions in the sudden expansion and in the cavity mouth. The mesh was created using the commercial meshing software package
GAMBIT2.1
17
SOLVER
BOUNDARY CONDITIONS
SETTINGS,
TURBULENCE
MODEL,
AND
The commercial CFD code FLUENT6.2.16 ^{1}^{6} used to conduct the simulations is based on the finite volume method and provides a choice of solvers and solver settings. The settings chosen for this study are listed in Table 1.
Turbulence was modeled using RNG (Renormalization Group Theory) kε model. In this model the turbulent viscosity is computed using the relation,
(1)
k
2
µ ε
µ
t ^{=}
C
ρ
where the value of the constant Cµ is derived to be 0.0845 from RNG theory. Nonequilibrium wall functions
are used. These functions are similar to those proposed by Launder and Spalding ^{1}^{8} but the loglaw is sensitized
to pressuregradient
FLUENT documentation ^{1}^{6} .
The boundary conditions used in the simulation are listed in Table 2. A constant velocity boundary condition was chosen for the inlet corresponding to a 300 cfm flow rate of air which is typical of an automotive climate control system. Since we assume the flow to be incompressible, an arbitrary value of pressure can be assigned to the pressure outlet without any effect on the flow field, so it is kept at 0 Pa (gage). The boundaries of the duct and the plenum were kept as noslip walls while the duct outlet was kept as an interior so air can pass freely from the duct into the plenum.
. Further details are seen in
19
BROADBAND NOISE SOURCE MODELS
Two broadband noise source models are considered in this work, a model estimating the contribution of quadrupole (volume) sources and the other indicating the
(a) Entire computational domain.
(b) Mesh in the duct.
(c) Mesh in the sudden expansion.
(d) Mesh in the cavity mouth. Figure 4. View of the central cross section of the baseline case mesh.
Table 1. Solver settings used in the simulations.
Function
Setting
• Solver
• Precision
• Pressure discretization
• Momentum discretization
• Pressurevelocity coupling
• Fluid
Steady state, Segregated Implicit
Double Precision
2 ^{n}^{d} order
2 ^{n}^{d} order upwind
SIMPLEC
Air (incompressible)
Table 2. Boundary conditions
Boundary 
Boundary Condition 
Value 
• Duct Inlet 
Constant Velocity 
7.507 m/s 
(=300 cfm) 

• Duct Outlet 
Interior 

• Duct boundaries 
No slip wall 

• Plenum Outlet 
Constant Pressure 
0 Pa (gage) 
• Plenum boundaries
No slip wall
contribution of dipole (surface) sources. Both have their foundation in Lighthill’s acoustic formulation. Lighthill ^{2}^{0} showed that at distances large compared with the dimension of the flow, the density fluctuation due to sound wave can be computed from:
(2)
where T _{i}_{j} is Lighthill’s stress tensor defined by
(3)
where σ _{i}_{j} is the viscous tensor.
Quadrupole Source Model
Proudman ^{2}^{1} , based on Lighthill’s acoustic analogy, originally derived a formula for acoustic power generated by isotropic turbulence without mean flow. More recently,
rederived the formula by accounting for the
Lilly
retarded time difference which was neglected in Prouman’s original derivation. Both derivations yield acoustic power due to unit volume of isotropic turbulence as:
22
(4)
where u and are turbulence velocity and length scales, respectively, and a _{0} is the speed of sound. The value of the numerical constant α in eqn. (4) varies depending on the specific methods of derivation. In Proudman’s original derivation, α 13. Lilly found α 10.96. In terms
of
k
and ε
and
using u ^{2} = 2k/3,
2 k / a
0 , eqn. (4) can be written as:
ε
= 1.5u ^{3} /l and
M _{t}
(5)
=
The rescaled constant α _{ε} , is approximately 0.5 for the Proudman’s constant (α 13). Sarkar and Hussaini ^{2}^{3} , based on their DNS (Direct Numerical Simulation) for isotropic turbulence, found that α _{ε} = 0.1 best fits the DNS data. FLUENT adopts α _{ε} = 0.1. Eqn. 5 thus provides the local sound power contribution per unit volume due to isotropic turbulence (quadrupole sound source) at every point in the computational domain.
Dipole Source Model
Farfield sound generated by turbulent boundary layer flow over a solid body at low Mach numbers is often of practical interest. The Curle's integral ^{2}^{4} based on acoustic analogy can be used to approximate the local contribution from the body surface to the total acoustic power. To that end, one can start with the Curle's:
(6)
where τ denotes the emission time (τ = t  r/a _{0} ), and S the integration surface.
Using this, the sound intensity in the far field can then be approximated by,
(7)
where A _{c} is the correlation area, , and cosθ is
the angle between and the wallnormal direction
. The total acoustic power emitted from the entire body surface can be computed from
where
(8)
(9)
which can be interpreted as the local contribution per unit surface area of the body surface to the total acoustic power. The meansquare timederivative of the surface pressure and the correlation area are further
approximated in terms of turbulent quantities like turbulent kinetic energy, dissipation rate, and wallshear.
FLUENT reports the acoustic surface power defined by Equation (9) both in physical (W/m ^{2} ) and dB units.
SIMULATION PROCEDURE
A steady state CFD simulation was conducted for each design. The solution was initially converged with first order discretization schemes and finally with second order schemes. After obtaining converged CFD solutions, acoustic postprocessing was done with the broadband noise source models. This included two calculations. The first was calculation of the volume integral of P _{A} from Eqn. (5) on the volume contained inside the duct. Here, P _{A} is an estimate of the local quadrupole acoustic power contribution per unit volume. Therefore the volume integral of P _{A} is indicative of the total acoustic power emitted by the entire duct due to quadrupole sources. The second was a calculation of the surface integral of I from Eqn. (9) on all internal wall surfaces of the duct. Here, I is an estimate of the local dipole acoustic power contribution per unit area. Therefore, the surface integral of I on all inner surfaces of the duct is indicative of the total acoustic power emitted by the duct due to dipole sources.
RESULTS
FLOWFIELD STRUCTURE
All designs were experimentally tested as well as simulated at a flow rate of 300 cfm corresponding to an inlet velocity of 7.507 m/s. Flow structure for the baseline geometry is presented in Figure 5 via contour plots of velocity magnitude, pressure, turbulent kinetic energy and dissipation rate. Velocity contours show that the flow enters the duct at a constant velocity and forms a boundary layer on the circular pipe section immediately downstream of the inlet. Upon encountering the sudden expansion further downstream, the flow separates from the walls and forms a jet. The boundaries of the jet do not reattach with the walls until the jet enters the 90 degree turn and impinges on the far wall. The bend turns the flow vertically upward and flattens the jet into a thinner, high velocity jet with a large separated region to its left. The jet forms a shear layer in the cavity mouth and creates a rotational flow inside the cavity.
Wherever the velocity gradient is large, high values of turbulent kinetic energy are seen to occur in the contour plot of turbulent kinetic energy. Locations of high turbulence include the region downstream of the sudden expansion as well as on the outer (left) boundary of the high velocity jet in the vertical section of the duct. These regions of high turbulence are expected to be strong sources of noise.
The flow structure in the other 3 designs is presented in Figure 6 using velocity contour plots. The 0.03 m baffle
at the leading edge of the cavity in Design 2 lifts the vertical jet off from the cavity mouth. As a result the rotation in the cavity of Design 2 is much milder than that in the baseline case. The vertical jet also becomes thinner and faster than in the baseline case. When the baffle height is increased to 0.07 m in Design 3 the jet velocity increases further and a strong separation region is seen behind the baffle. In Design 4 where the baffle height is increased to 0.11 m, there is only a small opening left for the flow and the vertical jet has a even higher velocity. The separation region behind the baffle is further pronounced.
NOISE CHARACTERISTICS
As the vertical jet becomes progressively faster from Design1 through 4 and the separation region behind the baffle becomes more pronounced, it is expected that the overall turbulence in the flow field will increase causing an increase in the broadband noise level. Experimental measurements confirm this trend. Figure 7 shows the sound spectra measured at a point 1 m directly downstream of the centroid point of the duct outlet. The spectra extend from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Over most of this extent the SPL for all four ducts is the same, except in the region from about 150 to 400 Hz. Therefore, the perceived difference in loudness of these ducts arises from this frequency band. Here, Design 2 is seen to be louder than Design 1 by roughly 2 to 3 dBA. Design 3 is louder than Design 2 by about 3 to 4 dBA, and likewise Design 4 is louder than Design 3 by 3 to 4 dBA.
Sound power estimates made using broadband noise source models in the CFD simulations are shown in Table 3. Both the dipole source power as well as the quadrupole source power are seen to increase from Design 1 through 4.
In conclusion, the two broadband noise source models considered here correctly predict the same noise ranking between the 4 designs studied as observed in experiments.
Table 3. Acoustic power generated inside the duct as estimated from the simulations.
Design 
Quadrupole Source Power in Watts 
Dipole Source Power in Watts 
Volume Integral of P _{A} in Eqn. (5) 
Surface Integral of I in Eqn. (9) 

Design1 
7.31e13 
2.44e09 
Design2 
1.63e12 
3.56e09 
Design3 
9.48e12 
8.64e09 
Design4 
2.94e10 
1.24e07 
CONCLUSION
Broadband noise source models are an attractive option to quickly and inexpensively evaluate the acoustic performance of devices. Broadband noise models require inexpensive steady state simulations to estimate noise where as other methods such as computational aeroacoustics and integral sound propagation methods require expensive transient simulation. However, broadband noise source models cannot provide accurate sound spectra unlike the other methods.
One possible practical use of the broadband noise source models is studied in this paper. The broadband noise models have been used to determine the noise loudness rankings of a generic HVAC duct with 4 design variations. The rankings are computed with a dipole and a quadrupole source power model. The computed rankings are compared to experimentally determined rankings and the two are found to be in excellent agreement. In conclusion, the broadband noise models are a valuable and relatively inexpensive practical tool for determining noise loudness rankings of HVAC duct designs.
REFERENCES
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transient aerodynamics  Predicting buffeting, roaring and whistling using CFD,” Sixth Motor Industries Research Association (MIRA) International Vehicle Aerodynamics Conference, October 1314, 2004, Warwick, U.K.
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(2004)
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CONTACT
Sandeep Sovani, Ph.D., Senior Consulting Engineer, Fluent Inc., 220 E. Huron St. Suite 470, Ann Arbor MI 48104 sds@fluent.com Tel: 7342136821 x235 FAX: 7342130147
(a) Velocity magnitude (m/s)
(b) Static pressure (Pa) Figure 5. Contour plots on the central crosssection showing flow structure in the baseline design.
(c) Turbulent kinetic energy (m ^{2} /s ^{2} )
(d) Turbulence dissipation rate (m ^{2} /s ^{3} ) Figure 5. Contour plots on the central crosssection showing flow structure in the baseline design.
(b) Design 3
Figure 6. Velocity magnitude contours on the central cross section for different designs.
(c) Design 4 Figure 6. Velocity magnitude contours on the central cross section for different designs.
Figure 7. Experimentally measured sound spectra at a point 1m directly downstream of the centroid of the duct outlet.
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