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From Standard Specifications to L Aeq Uncertainty in Environmental Noise Measurements

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Sound Level Meters (SLMs) usually used for environmental noise measurements, must meet IEC 61672-1 requirements. These requirements relate to the most important features of SLM performance (frequency response, directional response, time average, etc.); they are specific values with associated acceptance limits. Uncertainty is an essential ingredient of any measurement operation and usually has many components, including instrument performance. This paper proposes a method for obtaining instrument uncertainty using IEC 61672-1 specifications for class 1 SLMs. An estimate of this uncertainty is also provided by means of the method proposed. Since instrument uncertainty depends not only on the instrument, but also on sound signal characteristics (spectrum and time profile), measurement geometry (SLM position and orientation) and environmental conditions (weather conditions and acoustic field), it is not possible to provide a single value for this component of uncertainty. This paper gives some values for the most typical situations that can occur in environmental noise measurements as well as for the most critical ones. In the former case, standard uncertainty is normally slightly over 0.5 dB and expanded uncertainty larger than 1 dB for a 95% confidence level with a coverage factor of about 2; in the second case, these uncertainties are over 2 dB and 4 dB, respectively. Finally, the results obtained are critically discussed by comparing them with examples in the literature.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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