Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Volume diffusers for architectural acoustics

Hughes, RJ

Volume diffusers for architectural acoustics Thumbnail


RJ Hughes



Most conventional diffusers are used on room surfaces, and consequently can only operate on a hemispherical area. Placing a diffuser in the volume of a room may provide greater efficiency by allowing scattering into the whole space. There are very few examples of volume diffusers and they tend to be limited in design; subsequently a suitable method for their development is lacking.
2D volumetric diffusers are investigated, considering a number of design concepts; namely arrays of slats, percolation structures and cylinder arrays. An experimental technique is adapted for their measurement, and the results are used to verify prediction models for each type. Diffusive efficacy is assessed through a new metric based on an existing surface diffuser coefficient and a measure of scattered power requiring half of the energy to be back-scattered.
Single layer slat arrays are formed from optimal aperiodic sequences, though due to the directional scattering from individual slats at higher frequencies, performance is heavily dependent on line-of-sight through the array. This limits the operational bandwidth to approximately 1.5 octaves. Multi-layer structures offer improvements by allowing cancellation of the back-scattered lobe, though at high frequency the specular reflection from an individual slat still dominates. Percolation fractals use slats orientated in multiple directions and by scattering laterally can channel sound and diffuse at lower frequencies. Low frequency diffusion however is limited and the best structures are those which provide a broad range of geometric reflection paths.
Through application of number theoretic concepts, arrangements of cylinders are shown to offer more enhanced diffusing abilities than slat and percolation structures. At low frequency scattered power is controlled by cylinder size and at high frequency diffusion is dominated by their spacing. By minimising structural similarity and including cylinders with circumference comparable to wavelength, significant diffusion is achieved over an approximate 5 octave bandwidth.


Hughes, R. Volume diffusers for architectural acoustics. (Thesis). University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2011
Publicly Available Date Apr 5, 2016
Award Date Sep 1, 2011


You might also like

Downloadable Citations