The influence of absorption factors on the sensitivity of a virtual room's sound field to scattering coefficients

Lily M. Wang, Jonathan Rathsam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Currently there is limited information on what scattering coefficients (SCs) to assign materials in geometrical room acoustic computer models. As a result, room modelers rely on general guidelines and intuition when assigning SCs. How sensitive is the predicted sound field to the user's choice of scattering coefficients? The sound field's sensitivity depends on its diffusivity (without SCs); the more diffuse the room's sound field is, the less sensitive the virtual room is to the selection of SCs. In rooms with no fittings to diffuse sound energy, the sound field diffusivity is influenced by (1) room shape, (2) volume, (3) amount and (4) location of absorption, and (5) the choice of SCs. This investigation focuses only on the latter three factors. A rectangular room is modeled in ODEON v6.5 with 10 absorption schemes. These schemes vary in terms of the area of mirrored reflective surfaces, average absorption coefficient, and standard deviation of absorption. The amount of diffuse reflections at each room boundary as dictated by the SC is increased uniformly in each room. Changes in the room sound field, in particular in the reverberation time (T30), are examined at each step. Sound field diffusivity, and consequently a virtual room model's sensitivity to SCs, is found to depend most on the area of mirrored reflective surfaces. Also, a proposed quantity called the Scattering Sensitivity Index appears to predict sound field diffusivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1257
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Acoustics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Computer model
  • Room acoustics
  • Scattering coefficient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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