Acoustic attenuation in three-component gas mixtures - Theory

Y. Dain*, Richard M. Lueptow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Vibrational relaxation accounts for absorption and dispersion of acoustic waves in gases that can be significantly greater than the classical absorption mechanisms related to shear viscosity and heat conduction. This vibrational relaxation results from retarded energy exchange between translational and intramolecular vibrational degrees of freedom. Theoretical calculation of the vibrational relaxation time of gases based on the theory of Landau and Teller [Phys. Z. Sovjetunion 10, 34 (1936); 1, 88 (1932); 2, 46 (1932)] and Schwartz et al. [J. Chem. Phys. 20, 1591 (1952)] has been applied at room temperature to ternary mixtures of polyatomic gases containing nitrogen, water vapor, and methane. Due to vibrational-translational and vibrational-vibrational coupling between all three components in ternary mixtures, multiple relaxation processes produce effective relaxation frequencies affecting the attenuation of sound. The dependence of effective relaxation frequencies and the attenuation on mole fractions of the constituents was investigated. The acoustic attenuation in a mixture that is primarily nitrogen is strongly dependent on the concentrations of methane and water vapor that are present. However, the attenuation in a mixture that is primarily methane is only weakly dependent on the concentrations of nitrogen and water vapor. The theory developed in this paper is applicable to other multicomponent mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1955-1964
Number of pages10
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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