AN IMPEDANCE TUBE FOR THE IN-SITU CLASSIFICATION OF BUBBLY LIQUIDS
Wilbur, Jed C.
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It is well documented that the presence of even a few air bubbles in water can signifi- cantly alter the propagation and scattering of sound. Air bubbles are both naturally and artificially generated in all marine environments, especially near the sea surface. The abil- ity to measure the acoustic propagation parameters of bubbly liquids in situ has long been a goal of the underwater acoustics community. One promising solution is a submersible, thick-walled, liquid-filled impedance tube. Recent water-filled impedance tube work was successful at characterizing low void fraction bubbly liquids in the laboratory . This work details the modifications made to the existing impedance tube design to allow for submersed deployment in a controlled environment, such as a large tank or a test pond. As well as being submersible, the useable frequency range of the device is increased from 5 - 9 kHz to 1 - 16 kHz and it does not require any form of calibration. The opening of the new impedance tube is fitted with a large stainless steel flange to better define the boundary condition on the plane of the tube opening. The new device was validated against the classic theoretical result for the complex reflection coefficient of a tube opening fitted with an infinite flange. The complex reflection coefficient was then measured with a bubbly liquid (order 250 micron radius and 0.1 - 0.5 % void fraction) outside the tube opening. Results from the bubbly liquid experiments were inconsistent with flanged tube theory using current bubbly liquid models. The results were more closely matched to unflanged tube theory, suggesting that the high attenuation and phase speeds in the bubbly liquid made the tube opening appear as if it were radiating into free space.