read about acoustics

Read about acoustics

Do you want to learn about past research or ongoing projects? Check out these free resources and read about acoustics!

Acoustics Today

This quarterly magazine contains tutorials, technical articles, ASA news, and more. The pieces in the magazine are aimed at people with a general background in acoustics, but might not be versed in the particular featured subject. Read about acoustics from any issue here.


Lay Language Papers

Lay language papers are short versions of papers and talks presented at Annual Meetings of the Acoustical Society of America. Please keep in mind that some of the research described in the lay papers may not have yet been peer reviewed. See all papers here.

Psychoacoustics of chalkboard squeaking

There are many different sounds that people perceive as unpleasant or that may cause physiological reactions, like chills down the spine. These sounds include scraping a plate with a fork, squeaking Styrofoam or scratching fingernails on a chalkboard. Sometimes simply imagining these sounds or actions may cause the corresponding perception or physiological reaction […]. The aim of our study was to detect specific features of the sounds responsible for the perceived unpleasantness.

Black Fire Ant

Ants Have an Acoustic World of Their Own

It is well known that ants do not respond to sound on a human scale. You can shout at an ant and it doesn’t seem to notice. Yet many ant species communicate by means of squeaking sounds from a stridulatory organ on the ant’s body, consisting of a washboard-like set of ridges and a scraper. The squeaking sounds are usually very faint but they pervade ant colonies. The amplified sound of a colony of black fire ants (Solenopsis richteri), disturbed by a microphone probe pushed into their mound, is given in the attached recording.

Noise from Energy Efficient Hand Dryers: Is This Progress?

A survey was conducted to measure the sound levels from several different models of installed hand dryers. During the survey, the measurements were performed with and without hands in the airstream. This was found to be a significant factor to the loudness of the hand dryer. For some newer hand dryers models, high-speed airflows blowing onto the hands generates substantially higher noise levels.

Ultrasonic Cleaning of Root Canals

The exact cleaning mechanism, acoustic streaming, cavitation, a chemical effect, or a combination of these, is not yet known. In this study researchers attempt to reveal the cleaning mechanisms, using knowledge and expertise from physics, acoustics and dentistry.

Just Giggling? Information Content of the Hyena’s Laugh

Hyenas are well known for their vocalizations, which eerily dominate the soundscape at night in the African savannah. The vocal repertoire of the spotted hyena is large, with more than ten different vocalizations. Since hyenas are predominantly nocturnal, vocal signalling is a privileged channel, used for both long- and short-range communications.