The importance of sediment roughness on the reflection coefficient for normal incidence reflections



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This research experimentally shows the effect of sediment roughness characteristics on the acoustic reflection coefficient. This information is useful when trying to classify various types of sediment over an area. This research was conducted in an indoor laboratory tank at Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) at the University of Texas at Austin. A single beam echo-sounder (SBES) system was developed to project and receive a wideband (3 kHz to 30 kHz) acoustic pulse. A method was developed using the system transfer function to create a custom pulse that would minimize the dynamic range over the wide frequency band. A matched filtering and data processing algorithm was developed to analyze data over the full frequency bandwidth and over smaller frequency bands. Analysis over the smaller frequency bands showed the effect of the roughness on the reflection coefficient with respect to frequency. It was found that the reflection coefficient is significantly lower at the higher frequencies (above 20 kHz) than at the lower frequenices [sic] due to off specular scattering. It was also found that the variability of the reflection coefficient was significantly higher for the rough sediment than for the smooth sediment.