An Overview of the Combustive Sound Source: History and Recent Developments

date October 25, 2013
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Friday, October 25, 2013 4:00 p.m. in ETC 4.150

Andrew R. McNeese
Applied Research Laboratories
The University of Texas at Austin

This seminar describes the development and testing of the Combustive Sound Source (CSS), which is a broadband underwater sound source.  The CSS is being developed as a clean, safe, and cost effective replacement for underwater explosive charges, which present an inherent danger to marine life and researchers using the charges.  The basic operation of the CSS is as follows.  A combustible mixture of gas is held below the surface of the water in a combustion chamber and ignited with an electric spark.  A combustion wave propagates through the mixture and converts the fuel and oxidizer into a bubble of combustion products, which expands due to an increase in temperature, and then ultimately collapses to a volume that is smaller than before ignition, producing a high intensity, low frequency acoustic signal.  The seminar begins by discussing the history and purpose of developing the CSS.  It continues by describing the essential components of the device and convenient features added to recent mechanical designs.  The general operation is discussed along with a description of various experiments conducted to determine the acoustic output and robustness of recent modifications to the CSS.  Results from the experiments are presented to show that the CSS can be deployed from a stationary platform or a towed body throughout the water column, including at the water-sediment interface, to meet various experimental needs.  Future work and plans are discussed to conclude the seminar.