MECH ENG 4115 - Engineering Acoustics

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2024

The fundamentals of sound wave description and propagation, noise control techniques, the hearing mechanism, acoustic instrumentation, noise criteria, psychoacoustics, sound source types and radiated sound fields, outdoor sound propagation, sound power measurement techniques, sound in enclosed spaces, sound transmission loss, acoustic enclosures, acoustic barriers, pipe lagging and reactive and dissipative mufflers.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 4115
    Course Engineering Acoustics
    Coordinating Unit Mechanical Engineering
    Term Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 12 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites (MECH ENG 3028 or MECH ENG 3111). Plus 6 units of Level II Applied Maths courses
    Incompatible MECH ENG 4115EX, MECH ENG 7027, MECH ENG 7027EX
    Assessment Assignments, Laboratory experiments, Final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Anthony Zander

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1 Understand the principles of acoustics.
    2 Be able to assess complex occupational and environmental noise problems using acceptable assessment criteria.
    3 Understand the importance of protecting the community from excessive noise and how it damages the hearing mechanism.
    4 Be able to use instrumentation for noise measurement and understand the type of measurements appropriate for various situations.
    5 Understand noise source types and of how sound propagates outdoors.
    6 Understand sound fields in rooms and how they may be controlled.
    7 Be able to design noise control fixtures and develop strategies to reduce occupational and environmental noise to acceptable levels.
    8 Have a deep understanding of the responsibility of engineers to the community in terms of providing a safe healthy environment.
    9 Understand the need to undertake lifelong learning

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Entry to Practice Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer. The course develops the following EA Elements of Competency to levels of introductory (A), intermediate (B), advanced (C):  

    C C B B C B B B B A C B B
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Notes – these are essential and required. Course Notes and associated resources are available on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    There are no required textbooks for this course, although Engineering Noise Control is a highly recommended reference for this course and an addition to your professional library:

    Bies, D.A., Hansen, C.H., and Howard, C.Q., Engineering Noise Control, 5th edition, CRC Press, London, (2018).

    Other textbooks that you may find useful:

    Hansen, C.H., "Noise Control: From Concept to Application".
    F.J. Fahy, “Foundations of Engineering Acoustics”.
    L.E. Kinsler et al., "Fundamentals of acoustics", 3rd Ed.
    M.P. Norton, D.G. Karczub, "Fundamentals of noise and vibration analysis for engineers.”
    H. Fastl and E. Zwicker, “Psychoacoustics Facts and Models”, Springer, 3rd Ed 2007. (free ebook from BSL)

    Online Learning
    Significant links to online resources available on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    All lectures will be delivered online. These online lectures will be complemented by learning activities including quizzes, assignments and a face-to-face laboratory experiment. Lecturers will also be available at designated workshop times for consulting in person or via Zoom.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This is a 3-unit course which has a minimum workload of 150 hours - approximately 38 hours/per week as it is intensive summer course.

    Learning Activities Summary
    A suggested Learning Schedule is provided in MyUni with links to modules devoted to each of the following topics:
    1. Course Overview
    2. Fundamentals of Acoustics
    3. General Noise Control Techniques and Concepts
    4. Instrumentation
    5. Human Hearing
    6. Criteria
    7. Psychoacoustics
    8. Sound Sources
    9. Sound Power
    10. Sound in Enclosed Spaces
    11. Outdoor Sound Propagation
    12. Acoustic Enclosures
    13. Barriers and Pipe Lagging
    14. Mufflers
    15. Wrap Up and Revision Sessions
    There is additional material on acoustics, including numerous practice problems and past exams with solutions to facilitate independent learning.

    Students can ask questions using the Discussion Boards which are primarily for peer to peer discussion and support (plus the Course Coordinator will monitor and contribute as necessary), with the Open Zoom - Open Room workshop sessions being the main forum for asking questions, complemented by emails to the Course Coordinator with any additional questions you may have. 
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting %
    Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Quizzes x 14 Formative

    Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    0.5% each = 7% Total 1 - 9
    Assignments x 6 Formative Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3% each = 18% Total 1 - 9
    Practice Exam Formative 9 February 5% 1 - 9
    Laboratory Practical* Summative 1 week after lab 10% 1, 4, 6
    Exam** Summative Exam period 60% 1 - 9
    *Laboratory Practical HURDLE: you must attend the practical and submit an individual practical report and score at least 40% for the report.  

    **Final Exam HURDLE: must get at least 40% for exam.

    All assessment tasks are individual submissions.
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Exam HURDLE: must get at least 40% for exam grade to be considered for passing course and to be eligible for an Additional Assessment.

    Laboratory Practical HURDLE: you must attend the practical and submit an individual practical report and score at least 40% for the report.

    Assessment Detail

    Quizzes are submitted electronically and comprise 7% of the total grade of the course.

    Assignments are submitted electronically and comprise 18% of the total grade of the course.

    The Practice Exam is completed in-person and comprises 5% of the total grade of the course.

    The Laboratory Practical is a group lab to obtain measurements, with individual submission of results and analysis. It comprises 10% of the total grade of the course.

    The Final Exam is an open book exam and contributes 60% towards the total grade of the course. A hurdle grade of at least 40% in the exam is required to pass the course.


    All quizzes, assignments and practical reports must be submitted electronically via MyUni/Mobius as per instructions for each assessment. 

    It is not possible to submit assignments, quizzes and practical reports after the due date unless an extension has been arranged with the Course Coordinator.

    Extensions are granted on medical, compassionate or other special circumstances recognised under the University’s Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy.

    There is a new online Application for Assessment Extension form that replaces the previous one.

    Any doubts about extensions, please contact the Course Coordinator Anthony Zander at Please submit your online application before the assessment due date. You will be notified of the result of your request. 

    There will be no opportunities for re-submission of work of unacceptable standard.

    Due to the large size of the class feedback on assignments will be limited to in-class discussion resulting from questions from students and individual automatic feedback through Mobius/MyUni.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.