Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Jason R Blough


These investigations will discuss the operational noise caused by automotive torque converters during speed ratio operation. Two specific cases of torque converter noise will be studied; cavitation, and a monotonic turbine induced noise. Cavitation occurs at or near stall, or zero turbine speed. The bubbles produced due to the extreme torques at low speed ratio operation, upon collapse, may cause a broadband noise that is unwanted by those who are occupying the vehicle as other portions of the vehicle drive train improve acoustically. Turbine induced noise, which occurs at high engine torque at around 0.5 speed ratio, is a narrow-band phenomenon that is audible to vehicle occupants currently. The solution to the turbine induced noise is known, however this study is to gain a better understanding of the mechanics behind this occurrence.

The automated torque converter dynamometer test cell was utilized in these experiments to determine the effect of torque converter design parameters on the offset of cavitation and to employ the use a microwave telemetry system to directly measure pressures and structural motion on the turbine. Nearfield acoustics were used as a detection method for all phenomena while using a standardized speed ratio sweep test. Changes in filtered sound pressure levels enabled the ability to detect cavitation desinence. This, in turn, was utilized to determine the effects of various torque converter design parameters, including diameter, torus dimensions, and pump and stator blade designs on cavitation. The on turbine pressures and motion measured with the microwave telemetry were used to understand better the effects of a notched trailing edge turbine blade on the turbine induced noise.