Diffusion and Diffraction

Convex surfaces scatter sound, reinforcing sound levels in all parts of a room. Diffusion (Fig. 50-6) occurs where sound is reflected from a convex surface. Flat horizontal and inclined reflectors produce some diffusion as

Figure 50-5 Creep.

When sounds are reflected from a concave surface, they may converge at a single point. This is called focusing (Fig. 50-4). The sound is greatly reinforced at the focal point and is less loud elsewhere. Spaces with concave domes, vaults, or walls focus reflected sound into certain areas of rooms. Focusing deprives some listeners of useful sound reflections and causes intense sound spots at other positions.

Figure 50-6 Diffusion.

well. Diffusion results in the sound level remaining fairly constant throughout the space, a very desirable quality for music performance.

When a sound wave strikes an object smaller than or similar in dimension to its wavelength, it is diffracted, and the wave is scattered around the object. Diffraction is the ability to be heard beyond a barrier, and is measured by the amount that airborne sound waves are bent by moving around an obstacle in their path.

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