Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics

, Volume 10, Issue 1–4, pp 393–405

Jet Noise: Since 1952

  • Christopher K.W. Tam

DOI: 10.1007/s001620050072

Cite this article as:
Tam, C. Theoret. Comput. Fluid Dynamics (1998) 10: 393. doi:10.1007/s001620050072


Jet noise research was initiated by Sir James Lighthill in 1952. Since that time, the development of jet noise theory has followed a very tortuous path. This is, perhaps, not surprising for the understanding of jet noise is inherently tied to the understanding of turbulence in jet flows. Even now, our understanding of turbulence is still tenuous. In the fifties, turbulence was regarded as consisting of a random assortment of small eddies. As a result, the primary focus of jet noise research was to quantify the noise from fine-scale turbulence. This line of work persisted into the eighties. The discovery of large turbulence structures in free shear flows in the early seventies led some investigators to begin questioning the validity of the then established theories. Some went further to suggest that, for high-speed jets, it was the large turbulence structures/instability waves of the flow that were responsible for the dominant part of jet mixing noise. Development of a quantitative theory of noise from large turbulence structures/instability waves took place during the next 15 years. Precision instrumentation and facilities for jet noise measurements became available in the mid-eighties. This permitted a large bank of high-quality narrow band jet noise data to be gathered over the subsequent years. Recent analysis of these data has provided irrefutable evidence that jet noise, in fact, is made up of two basic components; one from the large turbulence structures/instability waves, the other from the fine-scale turbulence. This is true even for subsonic jets. In this paper, some of the crucial research results of the past 44 years, that form the basis of our present understanding of jet noise generation and propagation, are discussed.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher K.W. Tam
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510, U.S.A.US

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