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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECH0083 Vibrations, Airborne and Underwater Acoustics and Control

MECH0083 Vibrations, Airborne and Underwater Acoustics and Control

FHEQ Level:
7 (MSc)
Terms 1 and 2
UCL / ECTS Credits:
15 UCL / 7.5 ECTS
Previous Module Code:
Undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering; Knowledge of Solid/Fluid Mechanics and Engineering Mathematics

Taught By

Dr Paul Fromme (Module Coordinator):
Paul Fromme
Professor Nader Saffari:
Nader Saffari
Dr Helge Wurdemann:
Helge Wurdemann

Module Overview


The module reinforces the modelling and vibrations knowledge gained by students at undergraduate level. Building on these skills and mathematical tools, vibrations in more realistic and complex structures are investigated and analysed, increasing the understanding of vibration problems in engineering structures.

In the Acoustics part of the module, the aim is to impart knowledge of the sources and nature of acoustic noise in an engineering environment. The coverage starts with basic physical concepts and leads on to the treatment of vibrating structure/fluid interactions for a number of simple examples of practical interest.


The main aims of the digital control systems part of the module are:

  • To give students an appreciation of the need for modern control systems
  • To explain and discuss the systems that make up modern control systems
  • To provide students with mathematical tools needed in the design and performance analysis of digital control systems

Topics Covered


  • Introduction – Free response of SDOF systems
  • Forced vibration of SDOF systems
  • Transient response of SDOF systems
  • Unforced MDOF systems
  • Harmonic force applied to a MDOF system
  • Vibration in continuous systems


  • Introduction to Digital Control Systems
  • Mathematics of Digital Control Engineering
  • Discrete Time Systems
  • Discrete Control Systems


  • Introduction to Acoustics
  • Propagation of sound waves in solids and fluids
  • Interaction between vibrating structures and sound
  • Propagation through partitions
  • Sound in an enclosure

Underwater Acoustics

  • Introduction to underwater acoustics
  • Transmission and absorption losses
  • Volume and surface scattering. Target strength
  • The active and passive sonar equations
  • The detection threshold in a sonar system
  • Receiver Operating Curves (ROC)
  • Coherent and incoherent detection

Method of Instruction

This module is taught through:

  • Lectures


This module is assessed entirely through an unseen written examination.

For more information about assessment please contact

Additional Information

Much of the material taught in this module is common to MECH0057 Vibrations, Acoustics and Control. Students on the MSc Marine Engineering take MECH0083 instead of MECH0057. MECH0083 includes additional lectures on underwater acoustics.

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