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Noise generated in Air Ducts

Estimate noise generated by air flow in ducts.

Air flow in ducts generates noise. The noise in the duct is determined by

  • air velocity
  • duct size (cross sectional area)

Generated noise can be calculated with the empirical equation

LN = 10 + 50 log (v) + 10 log (A)                                                       (1)


LN = sound power level in the duct (dB)

v = air velocity (m/s)

A = air duct cross sectional area (m2)

The equation modified for imperial units

LN = 10 + 50 log (vi / 197) + 10 log (Ai / 1550)                                                      (1b)


vi = air velocity (ft/min)

Ai = cross sectional area (in2)

Air ducts - noise generated by air flow

Circular air ducts - cross sectional area

Example - Generated Noise in Duct by Air Flow

The cross section area of a 200 mm duct can be calculated as

A = π ((0.2 m) / 2)2)

   = 0.0314  m2

The noise generated in the duct with an air flow velocity 10 m/s can be calculated as

 LN = 10 + 50 log (10 m/s) + 10 log (0.0314 m2)

    = 45 db

The noise generated in the same 200 mm circular duct as above with air flow velocity 20 m/s can be calculated as

 LN = 10 + 50 log (20 m/s) + 10 log (π ((0.2 m) / 2)2)

    = 60 db

Note! - due to the noise generated by fans - noise generated inside ducts by air flow can in general be neglected.

Related Topics

  • Acoustics

    Room acoustics and acoustic properties. decibel A, B and C calculations. Noise Rating (NR) curves. Sound transmission through walls. Calculate sound pressure, sound intensity and sound attenuation.
  • Noise and Attenuation

    Noise is usually defined as unwanted sound - noise, noise generation, silencers and attenuation in HVAC systems.

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