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Infrasound Junior Research Group

Working Group 1.02


In a joint initiative with the TU Braunschweig, PTB launched a junior research group to study infrasound. The group investigates the generation, propagation, and perception of low-frequency airborne and structure-borne sound.

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Research Area: Generation of infrasound

The reserch group develops a portable measurement system that can precisely determine infrasound levels and thus allow researchers to determine the strength and location of the sound source. The system will be used on ground-based arrays and measurement drones.

Within the scope of the energy transition, large-scale nuclear and fossil-operated power stations, which used to be located at a considerable distance from existing residential areas, are rapidly being replaced by energy converters. In addition to being located near residential areas, these energy converters are smaller than their fossil counterparts and are operated in a decentralized way. Operating such facilities often causes noise emissions in the infrasonic range.

Major natural events, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and storms, also generate measurable infrasound which can be used to trace and locate them. Therefore, precise infrasound measurement systems can be used for developing new and reliable warning systems in disaster control.


Research Area: Propagation of infrasound

The research group investigates the propagation of infrasound analytically and by means of simulations. The results will be used to develop AI models for rapid data processing and visualization. Such models can be used to predict noise nuisances and to localize and classify unknown sound sources.

In contrast to audible sound, infrasound can propagate over long distances. Both landscapes and meteorological conditions have a significant influence on the actual sound propagation. Accurate infrasound assessment not only requires accurate measurements but also accurate propagation models. Existing propagation models are often inaccurate for low-frequency sound.


Research Area: Perception of infrasound

The research group investigates methods to assess the perception of infrasound objectively. A portable measuring system is coupled with devices monitoring cardiological and neurological parameters. In a field test, conclusions will be drawn regarding the everyday influence of infrasound on test persons.

The perception of infrasound is highly subjective, as hearing thresholds vary widely among the population. In addition, non-auditory perception, e.g., via vibrations, is also possible.

Obtaining rigorous scientific evidence from subjective impressions is a major challenge. However, scientifically valid investigations of the health effects of infrasound are necessary to improve guidelines and strengthen public acceptance of future energy transition technologies.

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Undergraduate Students
If you are interested in a Master or Bachelor thesis work, 
please contact Opens local program for sending emailstefan.jacob(at)ptb.de.

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