Sonic boom propagation in urban canyons using a combined ray tracing/radiosity method

Kimberly Riegel, Victor W. Sparrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sonic boom propagation over land is being studied to ensure a minimal impact on the population in the event that supersonic flight over land becomes permissible. Sonic boom behavior in and around urban areas is particularly important due to the high density of people residing in cities and the increased probability of impacting large numbers of people if urban areas lie in the flight path. This study models sonic booms around urban canyons using a combined ray tracing/radiosity method. The impacts of several parameters, such as diffusion, arrival angle, building heights, and canyon width, on the sound field were explored. The results showed that without diffusion, there was no real trend as the canyon height and width and arrival angles were varied. There were strong shadow zones where no sound was detected as this model does not include diffraction. In other locations, between one and four boom events were received. The resulting perceived level in dB (PLdB) varied from 0 in the shadow zones to 94 dB. Diffuse reflections was the parameter that had the greatest impact on the resulting signatures. Parameters that caused an increased number of reflections showed significant changes in the signature shape and a dramatic reduction in the PLdB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1527-1533
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this