This article originally appeared on UBC News.
Chronic ship noise can lead to stress, hearing loss and feeding problems for marine mammals like whales, dolphins and porpoises. UBC Engineering researchers are diving in to help address the issue.
“Propeller noise can hit 170 decibels, the equivalent of a jet engine or a rocket lift-off,” said Dr. Jaiman.
Popping and singing
The reason for the noise is bubbles. The ship’s movement and its propeller’s rotation create steam bubbles that then implode. This creates popping effects and a high-pitched “singing” that can irritate crew and passengers onboard and disrupt marine life within a 100-kilometre radius.
To reduce noise, the researchers are studying solutions like injecting a jet of fluid to help control propeller movement or introducing wavy and serrated edges to break up flow patterns that cause noise.
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