The propagation of plane acoustic waves in smooth pipes and their reflection at open pipe terminations have been studied experimentally. The accuracy of the measurements is determined by comparison of experimental data with results of linear theory for the propagation of acoustic waves in a pipe with a quiescent fluid. The damping and the reflection at an unflanged pipe termination are compared.
In the presence of a fully developed turbulent mean flow the measurements of the damping confirm the results of Ronneberger & Ahrens (1977). In the high-frequency limit the quasi-laminar theory of Ronneberger (1975) predicts accurately the convective effects on the damping of acoustic waves. For low frequencies a simple theory combining the rigid-plate model of Ronneberger & Ahrens (1977) with the theoretical approach of Howe (1984) yields a fair prediction of the influence of turbulence on the shear stress. The finite response time of the turbulence near the wall to the acoustic perturbations has to be taken into account in order to explain the experimental data. The model yields a quasi-stationary limit of the damping which does not take into account the fundamental difference between the viscous and thermal dissipation observed for low frequencies.
Measurements of the nonlinear behaviour of the reflection properties for unflanged pipe terminations with thin and thick walls in the absence of a mean flow confirm the theory of Disselhorst & van Wijngaarden (1980), for the low-frequency limit. It appears however that a two-dimensional theory such as proposed by Disselhorst & van Wijngaarden (1980) for the high-frequency limit underestimates the acoustical energy absorption by vortex shedding by a factor 2.5.
The measured influence of wall thickness on the reflection properties of an open pipe end confirms the linear theory of Ando (1969). In the presence of a mean flow the end correction δ of an unflanged pipe end varies from the value at the high-Strouhal-number limit of δ/a = 0.61, with a the pipe radius, which is close to the value in the absence of a mean flow given by Levine & Schwinger (1948) of δ/a = 0.6133, to a value of δ/a = 0.19 in the low-Strouhal-number limit which is close to the value predicted by Rienstra (1983) of δ/a = 0.26.
The pressure reflection coefficient is found to agree with the theoretical predictions by Munt (1977, 1990) and Cargill (1982b) in which a full Kutta condition is included. The accuracy of the theory is fascinating in view of the dramatic simplifications introduced in the theory. For a thick-walled pipe end and a pipe terminated by a horn the end correction behaviour is similar. It is surprising that the nonlinear behaviour at low frequencies and high acoustic amplitudes in the absence of mean flow does not influence the end correction significantly.
The aero-acoustic behaviour of the pipe end is dramatially influenced by the presence of a horn. In the presence of a mean flow the horn is a source of sound for a critical range of the Strouhal number.
The high accuracy of the experimental data suggests that acoustic measurements can be used for a systematic study of turbulence in unsteady flow and of unsteady flow separation.