Academic department under which the project should be listed

Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Sponsor Name

Richard Ruhala

No human subjects.

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, life consisted of seeing people in dense public areas such as malls, parks, and schools. But the life these people once knew has changed with face coverings becoming more prevalent in society along with social distancing which caused these public places to limit their capacity. However, a certain faction of society-this being students, have been affected immensely due to this transition of life at school which includes mandatory face coverings in the classroom and social distancing. This research focuses on the effects on speech with and without face coverings in a classroom setting in certain sound fields. The data used in this project comes from an acoustical Head and Torso Simulator (HATS) that acts as a sound source that generates various speech signals at various frequencies while equipped with different face coverings which include but not limited to surgical, N95, KN95, and different cloth masks. These sound levels are measured at different locations in the classroom (2.0 meters and 6.2 meters away from HATS) at octave band frequencies to then find the direct and reverberant sound fields of the classroom in Microsoft Excel; finding these fields will help reduce the room acoustical effects for students and faculty to effectively communicate in the classroom during the fallout of this pandemic. With this research, the potential outcome of knowing how to improve classroom acoustics will benefit the learning experience for the next generation of students.

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Classroom Room Acoustics and Effect on Speech with and without Face Coverings in Direct and Reverberant Sound Fields

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, life consisted of seeing people in dense public areas such as malls, parks, and schools. But the life these people once knew has changed with face coverings becoming more prevalent in society along with social distancing which caused these public places to limit their capacity. However, a certain faction of society-this being students, have been affected immensely due to this transition of life at school which includes mandatory face coverings in the classroom and social distancing. This research focuses on the effects on speech with and without face coverings in a classroom setting in certain sound fields. The data used in this project comes from an acoustical Head and Torso Simulator (HATS) that acts as a sound source that generates various speech signals at various frequencies while equipped with different face coverings which include but not limited to surgical, N95, KN95, and different cloth masks. These sound levels are measured at different locations in the classroom (2.0 meters and 6.2 meters away from HATS) at octave band frequencies to then find the direct and reverberant sound fields of the classroom in Microsoft Excel; finding these fields will help reduce the room acoustical effects for students and faculty to effectively communicate in the classroom during the fallout of this pandemic. With this research, the potential outcome of knowing how to improve classroom acoustics will benefit the learning experience for the next generation of students.