73727 - Applied Acoustic And Lighting

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to give to students the essential tools to work in the fields of applied acoustics and lighting, basing on physical principles and considering the connections with other technical and architectural disciplines. The course will cover: sound propagation outdoors and noise control; acoustical design of buildings; design of music and conference halls; artificial and natural lighting of interiors; artificial lighting of roads. The course includes a basic knowledge of: measurement equipments and techniques, Italian and international technical standards, laws.

Course contents


1. Physical acoustics.
The nature of sound. Main acoustic quantities.
Sound speed in various media.
Plane, spherical, cylindrical, standing waves.

2. Psychoacoustics (introduction).
Human hearing system.
Annoyance and damage due to noise.

3. Sound levels, decibels and spectra.
Decibel scale.
(1/n) octave filters.
Frequency weighting curves.
Sound levels metrics.
Sound level meters.
Fourier analysis (introduction).

4. Outdoor noise.
Sound propagation outdoors.
Noise barriers.
Laws and standards.
Noise from factories, roads, railways, airports.

5. Building acoustics.
Sound insulation: basic laws.
Laws and standards.
Evaluation of the acoustic performance of buildings from the performance of their components.

6. Room acoustics.
Geometric approximation.
Statistic-energetic approximation. Reverberation.
Sabine and Norris-Eyring formulae for the reverberation time.
Wave approach (introduction).
Sound absorbing materials and systems.

7. Architectural acoustics.
Criteria for speech intelligibility.
Acoustics of performance spaces: historical overview from ancient times to Sabine's work.
Beranek's work.
Monoaural and binaural acoustic quality criteria for concert halls.
Ando's theory. Contemporary reearches.


8. The human vision system (introduction).

9. Photometry.
Fundamental photometric quantities.
Basic photometric measurements.

10. Artificial light sources.
Hot wire lamps.
Gas discharge lamps.
LED systems.
Lamp enclosures.

11. Artificial lighting.
Artificial lighting in interiors.
Artificial lighting of streets.
Artificial lighting in tunnels.

12. Using natural light in interiors.

13. Lighting of artworks.


R. Spagnolo (a cura di), Manuale di acustica applicata, De Agostini Scuola - Città Studi Edizioni, Torino (2008).

A. De Lieto Vollaro, G. Moncada Lo Giudice, Illuminotecnica, Casa Ed. Ambrosiana , Milano (2007).

Didactic materials on the Internet at URL: http//acustica.ing.unibo.it.

PDF copy of all slides presented during lessons on https://virtuale.unibo.it.

Other specialised books will be indicated to the classroom during the lectures.

Teaching methods

Traditional lessons for fundamental topics, with numerical exercises in classroom.

Didactic seminar for more applicative topics.

In classroom presentation and discussion of case studies on the acoustic impact of transport infrastructures, design of buildings with high acoustic performances, quality of performance halls, etc.

Laboratory demonstrations of measurement instrumentation and techniques.

Demonstrations of computer simulations with specialised software.

Students are encouraged to produce a project or a technical report which could contribute to their final assessment. Office hours will be established for assistance by a tutor and, if needed, to access to a computer with specialised software.

Assessment methods

The final assessment shall be one single oral examination.

The questions aim to ascertain two main didactic objectives:

  • the full knowledge of the theoretical concepts and methods presented to the classroom;
  • the ability to use these tools to solve problems in the engineering field.

Students shall answer to questions on principles and methods ("questions on theory") and questions oriented to solve a numerical problem like those discussed in classroom ("exercises"). This aims to verify the student's ability to apply the given tools to model a situation, calculate the results and interpret them. In this regard the project or technical report produced by the students could be considered.

Students must prepare in advance their workplace for the on line exam, following the instructions available on the teacher's web site.


Teaching tools

PC projector, materials downlodable from the teacher's website, PDF copy of all slides presented during lessos downloadable from https://virtuale.unibo.it, laboratory demonstrations.

Office hours

See the website of Massimo Garai

See the website of Luca Barbaresi