Noise and Vibration Testing

Noise and vibration testing is the process of analyzing the acoustic characteristics of a system and/or its components, then creating and validating solutions to modify those characteristics to meet design objectives. Noise and vibration testing that incorporates subjective evaluations of harmonic tones or vibration intensity (i.e. whether detected sounds or vibrations will negatively impact the experience of end-consumers) is known as Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) testing.

Many engineering problems generate vibrations or noises that are transmitted via a variety of paths before being detected by the human auditory system. Noise and vibration testing separates the sounds and movements of normal operation from problematic ones, helping engineers to identify their root cause.

Noise and vibration testing uses a combination of hardware, software, and application expertise to analyze products for noise and/or vibrations that indicate faulty systems, parts, or structural design. Typical instrumentation used to measure noise and vibration include microphones, accelerometers, force gauges, load cells, and more. In addition to, or in place of, physical testing, some applications may use digital simulations instead.

Noise and vibration testing becomes more important as product complexity rises. A large, intricate collection of sub-systems (such as a car or an airplane) could require substantial noise and vibration testing throughout production.