MECH ENG 7111 - Acoustics and Vibrations PG

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

Acoustics and vibrations are one of the core pillars of the mechanical engineering discipline, with applications that range from civil structures, architectural and environmental systems, and all forms of mechanical systems including transport vehicles and aircraft. This course introduces the fundamental concepts of acoustics, including characterisation and quantification of sound sources, exposure to noise, and noise control, mitigation, and psychoacoustics. Vibration systems are covered in detail from lumped parameter models through to continuous and multi-degree of freedom systems. Design of vibration control devices, such as vibration isolators and vibration absorbers, is also considered. A strong emphasis is placed on frequency response characteristics for both acoustics and vibration applications, including practical exposure to spectral analysis and its application to predictive maintenance using machine condition monitoring.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 7111
    Course Acoustics and Vibrations PG
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hrs per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible MECH ENG 7047
    Assumed Knowledge 6 units of Level II Applied Maths courses, MECH ENG 1007, MECH ENG 2019
    Assessment Quizzes, assessments, labs, exams
    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 fundamentals of acoustics;
    2 Understand basic noise control systems;
    3 Be able to assess occupational and environmental noise problems;
    4 Discuss the principles of vibrations, including concepts of modes and natural frequencies, and the influence of mass, stiffness and damping on the motion of vibratory systems;
    5 Demonstrate how to estimate system parameters and measure the damping of simple vibratory systems;
    6 Explain the principles controlling basic vibration systems including forced vibratory systems, vibration isolation systems, and vibration absorbers;
    7 Explain the modes and natural frequencies of simple, idealised continuous systems;
    8 Explain the fundamentals of modelling complex continuous systems with discrete lumped-masses and springs;
    9 Understand the fundamentals of signal processing/spectral analysis;
    10 Understand the condition of a machine by analysing its vibration signature history to predict its performance and to diagnose faults from knowledge of characteristic "fault" vibration signatures.
    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer. The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency:

    1.1. Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
    1.2. Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information
    sciences, which underpin the engineering discipline.
    1.3. In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
    1.4. Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
    1.5. Knowledge of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
    1.6. Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline.

    2.1. Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
    2.2. Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
    2.3. Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.

    3.1. Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
    3.2. Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
    3.4. Professional use and management of information.
    3.5. Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.
    3.6. Effective team membership and team leadership.
    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 7: Digital capabilities

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

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Notes and associated resources available on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Inman, D.J., Engineering Vibration, Pearson, Fourth Edition, 2014; or
    Thompson W.T., 1993, Theory of Vibration with Applications, Fourth Edition, Stanley-Thornes.

    Bies and Hansen "Engineering Noise Control: Theory and Practice", CRC Press.
    Online Learning
    Significant links to online resources available on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Online lectures supported by computer lab-based tutorials and one laboratory experiment.

    All lectures will be delivered online. These online lectures will be complemented by learning activities including computer lab-based tutorials, quizzes, assignments and a face-to-face laboratory experiment. Lecturers will also be available weekly at designated times for consulting in person or via Zoom. There will also be the option to participate in all activities entirely remotely.

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

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

    As per university recommendations, it is expected that students spend 48hrs/week during teaching periods, and that a 3 unit course has a minimum workload of 150 hours regardless of the length of the course. Additional time may need to be spent acquiring assumed knowledge, working on assessment during non-teaching periods, and preparing for and attending examinations.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Below is a breakdown of the scheduled learning activities for this course:


    Fundamentals of Acoustics
    Amplitude, frequency, wavelength, speed of sound.
    Logarithmic scale, octave and 1/3rd octave bands.
    Sound Pressure Level, addition and subtraction of pressure and SPLs.
    Noise reduction addition.
    Sound Intensity, Sound Power, Directivity, SPL at a distance from a sound power source.
    Subjective assessment of change in SPL & A-weighting.
    Instrumentation used in acoustics.
    The A-weighting scale.
    The subjective perception of loudness.
    The concept of masking noise and the limitation of human hearing.
    The concept of critical bands.
    How jury testing can be used for product evaluation.
    General Noise Control Techniques
    Basics of Acoustics.
    Vibro-acoustic noise control.
    Air-borne noise control.
    Liquid-borne noise control.
    Building acoustics.
    Silencers and mufflers.
    Occupational and Environmental Noise
    Noise induced and age related hearing loss.
    Estimation of noise exposure.
    Noise exposure trading rules.
    Metrics used to describe noise spectra in offices, such as Room Criteria.
    Community noise level criteria.


    Free vibration of single degree-of-freedom systems (2 lectures)
    Forced vibrations (3 lectures)
    Damped vibrations (2 lectures)
    Vibration isolation (3 lectures)
    Multi-degree of freedom systems (4 lectures)
    Vibration of continuous systems (2 lectures)
    Determination of natural frequencies and mode shapes (5 lectures)
    Laboratory Experiment: Vibrating beam PRAC

    Spectral Analysis & Machine Condition Monitoring

    Spectral analyis including the fast fourier transform, windowing, averaging, discretisation and frequency resolution.
    Maintenance methods, machine heath indicators and standards, characteristic machine "fault" signatures for a range of mechanical faults including imbalance, misalignment, gear mesh problems, and rolling element bearing failures.
    Computer lab-based computer exercise on spectral analysis using MATLAB (2 hours)
  • 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 Learning Outcome
    Acoustics quizzes Formative

    Week 6

    3% 1,2,3
    Acoustics assignment Summative

    Week 6

    9% 1,2,3
    Vibrations quizzes Formative Weeks 6, 9 5% 4,5,6,7,8
    Vibrations assignments Summative Weeks 8, 10 10% 4,5,6,7,8
    Vibrating beam prac Summative 14 days after session 5% 4,5,6,7,8
    Signal processing quizzes Formative Week 11 4% 9,10
    Signal processing assignment Summative Week 12 4% 9,10
    Exam Summative 60% 1-10
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The Vibrating Beam PRAC laboratory experiment is a compulsory hurdle requirement. To pass the course each student must:
    • attend the Vibrating Beam laboratory experiment (either in person or remotely);
    • submit a group lab report; and
    • obtain at least 35% of the total lab mark.
    Assessment Detail
    Acoustics (weighted at 30% of overall course mark)

    The acoustics assignment is submitted electronically and comprises 30% of the Acoustics component mark, with the acoustics quizzes worth 10% of the Acoustics component mark The exam comprises 60% of the Acoustics component mark.

    Vibrations (weighted at 50% of overall course mark)

    The Vibrations assessment comprises two quizzes (10% of Vibrations component in total), two assignments submitted electronically (20% of Vibrations component in total), and the Vibrating Beam laboratory experiment worth 10% of the Vibrations component mark. The exam comprises 60% of the Vibrations component mark. Masters by Coursework students are set an extra problem to complete in the second Vibrations assignment.

    Spectral Analysis and Machine Condition Monitoring (weighted at 20% of overall course mark)

    The assessment comprises one quiz (20% of Spectral Analysis & MCM component in total), one assignment (20% of Spectral Analysis & MCM component in total), and the exam which comprises 60% of the Spectral Analysis & MCM component mark.

    Variations in the assessment scheme are negotiable only on medical or compassionate grounds or extenuating circumstances.
    All quizzes, assignments and practical reports must be submitted electronically via MyUni as per instructions for each assessment. All quizzes, tutorials and assignments are submitted online using Mobius/MyUni. Late submissions are not possible as Mobius/MyUni automatically prevents submission after the due time on the due date, unless an extension has been granted and implemented in Mobius/MyUni by the Course Coordinator.

    Extensions for assignments will only be given in exceptional circumstances and a case for this with supporting documentation can
    be made in writing via email to the Course Coordinator. The Course Coordinator must receive a completed Application for Assessment Extension form (;field=data;id=7446;m=view) prior to the Assessment Deadline when a student is seeking an extension. There are only three grounds for which an extension can be granted: Medical Circumstances, Compassionate Circumstances and/or Extenuating Circumstances. Course Coordinators cannot grant extensions based on balancing student workloads.

    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.

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