The Acoustical Klein-Gordon equation: the wave-mechanical step and barrier potential functions

Forbes, Barbara J.; Pike, E. Roy and Sharp, David B. (2003). The Acoustical Klein-Gordon equation: the wave-mechanical step and barrier potential functions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 114(3) pp. 1291–1302.



The transformed form of the Webster equation is investigated. Usually described as analogous to the Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics, it is noted that the second-order time dependency defines a Klein–Gordon problem. This "acoustical Klein–Gordon equation" is analyzed with particular reference to the acoustical properties of wave-mechanical potential functions, U(x), that give rise to geometry-dependent dispersions at rapid variations in tract cross section. Such dispersions are not elucidated by other one-dimensional—cylindrical or conical—duct models. Since Sturm–Liouville analysis is not appropriate for inhomogeneous boundary conditions, the exact solution of the Klein–Gordon equation is achieved through a Green's-function methodology referring to the transfer matrix of an arbitrary string of square potential functions, including a square barrier equivalent to a radiation impedance. The general conclusion of the paper is that, in the absence of precise knowledge of initial conditions on the area function, any given potential function will map to a multiplicity of area functions of identical relative resonance characteristics. Since the potential function maps uniquely to the acoustical output, it is suggested that the one-dimensional wave physics is both most accurately and most compactly described within the Klein–Gordon framework.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions