In very narrow pathways, the speed of sound propagation and the phase of sound waves change due to the air viscosity. We have developed a new finite element method (FEM) that includes the effects of air viscosity for modeling a narrow sound pathway. This method is developed as an extension of the existing FEM for porous sound-absorbing materials. The numerical calculation results for several three-dimensional slit models using the proposed FEM are validated against existing calculation methods.
Earphones and headphones, which are compact electro-acoustic transducers, tend to have a lot of acoustic absorption materials and porous materials known as dampers, which often have a large number of extremely small holes and narrow slits to inhibit the resonance of the vibrating system, because the air viscosity significantly affects the acoustic characteristics in such acoustic paths. In order to perform simulations using the finite element method (FEM), it is necessary to be aware of material characteristics such as the impedance and propagation constants of sound absorbing materials and porous materials. The transfer function is widely known as a measurement method for an acoustic tube with such physical properties, but literature describing the measurements at the upper limits of the audible range is yet to be found. The acoustic tube, which is a measurement instrument, must be made narrow, and the distance between the two sets of microphones must be shortened in order to take measurements of acoustic characteristics at higher frequencies. When such a tube is made narrow, however, the characteristic impedance has been observed to become lower than the impedance of air. This paper considers the cause of this phenomenon to be the effect of the air viscosity and describes an FEM analysis of an acoustic tube considering air viscosity to compare to the theoretical formula by including the effect of air viscosity in the theoretical formula for an acoustic tube.
In this paper, we discuss the propagation of sound in the narrow pathways of an occluded-ear simulator typically used for the measurement of insert-type earphones. The simulator has a standardized frequency response conforming to the international standard (IEC60318-4). In narrow pathways, the speed and phase of sound waves are modified by viscous air damping. In our previous paper, we proposed a new finite element method (FEM) to consider the effects of air viscosity in this type of audio equipment. In this study, we will compare the results from the ear simulator FEM model, and those from a three dimensional human ear canal FEM model made from computed tomography images, with the measured frequency response data from the ear canals of 18 people.