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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

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

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Jason R. Blough

Advisor 2

Carl L. Anderson

Committee Member 1

Mark A. Johnson

Committee Member 2

Sunil S. Mehendale


The purpose of this dissertation is to determine the relationship between the maximum cavitation sound power levels and the design and operating parameters of a matrix of automotive torque converters. Cavitation in a torque converter can reduce torque converter performance and produce noise levels significant enough to be audible in the vehicle cab. The trend toward smaller and more compact torque converters increases the risk of cavitation and noticeable noise production. Determination of the effects of the torque converter design and operating parameters on cavitation noise allows predictions of the torque converter noise levels in the design process. An automated dynamometer test cell with a specially designed torque converter test chamber was implemented to determine these parameters through experimentation. The test chamber was specially calibrated to determine sound power through a method developed and detailed in this dissertation. These experiments enabled determination of the relationships between the torque converter design and operating parameters and the sound power of cavitation noise. A model was developed to predict the sound power of torque converters using dimensional analysis and response surface methodology.

Thresholds for torque converter sound power levels were also determined in this work. These thresholds establish levels at which torque converter noise may be heard inside the vehicle cab. Acceptable thresholds, paired with the model, enable the design of torque converters that produce levels below the acceptable thresholds. This prevents the design of torque converters that produce audible noise in the vehicle cab.