Underwater Acoustic Modelling & Mapping

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The opportunity afforded by marine energy will go a long way to help the UK and the rest of the world achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets. If marine equipment is to harness and also survive the enormous power of the ocean it is vital that a design is mechanically robust and reliable. Knowledge and experience in dynamics and vibration are therefore essential for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and minimising operational and maintenance costs. Working closely with project partners Xi provide a comprehensive view of the overall power generating structure and the interactions between each of its components. This in turn allows us to address potential fatigue concerns and advise upon design modifications at the earliest stage. This delivers the most valuable engineering output with minimal design costs. Our detailed modelling approach can also be used to characterise the noise that renewable devices will emit into the marine environment. This analysis is essential for showing that wave and tidal device will not harm marine mammals and other species. 

Services for developers and manufacturers include:

  • Underwater Noise Level Prediction
  • 3D acoustical maps of device noise output taking into account device and the sea floor bathymetry interactions
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Prediction of acoustic signatures of marine renewable devices
  • Integration modelling of the device with localised topography Individual and array analysis of resultant noise impact with comparison to background data
  • Vibration analysis due to excitation of the nacelle and substructure of the turbine wake effects during blade pass
  • Frequency-matching analysis between rotational machinery with all major structural elements and components in the nacelle
  • Bespoke design and interpretation of condition monitoring system and recorded data analysis of excitation by waves, cross currents and marine turbulence

Acoustic Modelling to Assess Tidal Turbines Interaction with Marine Life

In this example a large domain was constructed of the ocean floor, at the centre of which an array of tidal tubines was positioned.  The resulting acoustic sound emission was modelled which could then be related to the m-weighted hearing curves of a variety of marine life.


A 3D bathymetry of the ocean floor is modelled around an array of tidal turbine devices 


The sound propogation from the array of tidal turbine devices can then be mapped at any depth and at any discrete frequency.


This sound map can also produce vertical slices where the dark blue represents the ocean floor.



The sound map can then be related with the M-weighted hearing curve for different marine life to gain an understanding
of what frequencies and amplitudes of noise they may hear.  In the diagram the m-weighted hearing maps are shown for
(Clockwise from top left) Dolphins, Minke Whales, Seals, and Porpoise.

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