Page 27 - Volume 8, Issue 1 Winter 2013
P. 27

The results are
reported in
sound pressure
level (SPL) rela-
tive to one micro-
Pa, normalized to
a distance of one
meter in one-
third octave
bands. The stan-
dard provides a
description of the
process and not a
specific tool or
device. The stan-
dard has three
Grades, A, B & C,
which are intend-
ed for precision,
respectively. Figure 1 shows the configuration of the overall measurement scheme for Grades A and B.
Fortunately, this article is not about the technical details of how to measure underwater noise from ships, but it is about the standardization process. More specifically, it is about what can happen after the development of an American National Standard. Unlike Super Bowl winning teams, standard’s committees are not offered paid trips to Disney World upon the completion of their work. The chair is given a very nice plaque to signify the hard work, even though he could not do it without a dedicated committee of experts from the private sector, government agencies and academia. For example, the members of the ANSI/ASA S12/WG 47 that created ANSI/ASA S12.64/Part 1 came from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); academia including members from University of Delaware, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Florida Atlantic University, University of Rhode Island and University of New Hampshire; and indus- try including private consultants to Fortune-500 companies. The topic was of such interest that there was international participation, from Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Australia.
Back to the question—after developing an ANSI accred- ited standard what do you do for an encore? The only logical follow-up is to bring the standard to the International Standards Organization (ISO) and that is just what was done with the encouragement and help of the ASA standards office. This office, with limited staff, manages standards development, maintenance, sales and distribution for all top- ics in acoustics, noise, vibration, bioacoustics and now underwater noise. This includes such differing topics such as sound power from computer equipment to classroom acoustics, and now underwater noise from ships.
This author assumes that standards move from the national arena to the international stage all the time. Likewise
engineering and survey measurements,
  Fig. 2. Map of North America showing both U.S. and Canadian underwater noise testing facilities and ranges oper- ated by the U.S. Navy and the Canadian Navy.
 ASA receives international standards (from ISO) and then adopts them as ANSI/ASA stan- dards. Even with- out creating new methodology, the process of adopt- ing standards nationally and internationally requires a signifi- cant amount of paperwork, tech- nical review and member ballot- ing. All of this work is managed
by the ASA standards office. The toughest part of their job is keeping all the volunteer participants (the author) engaged in their standards work without the military’s practice of pro- moting, the private sector’s cash/stock bonuses, or academia’s practice of bestowing tenure.
By now the reader may wonder why bother with all this effort? Why do we even need ANSI or ISO standards? That question is answered by just a couple of simple examples. Just recently, the author found great difficulty attaching a box-type ski rack to second vehicle without the use of a pricey adaptor. This lack of car rack standardization brings to mind, a similar difficulty replacing a car’s windshield wiper. Remember Beta and VHS video tapes? The ASA Standards office mentioned, that the Beta/VHS “issue was really one of competing stan- dards. They were both heavily standardized and it was a mat- ter of which one won out in the marketplace.” Actually, the Beta format was better than the VHS, the winner.
Imagine all the extra work and money that goes into cre- ating multiple adaptors, windshield wipers, and two different video tape formats. It is unfortunate that standards groups were not started when the world became electrified. If so, we would all have one type of electrical socket. The only negative is that travel stores would not be able to sell power adap- tors/convertors when landing abroad without ability to recharge your electronic devices.
If global uniformity did not occur for power outlets, automobiles, or the early digital entertainment industry, why is it necessary for sound and vibration? Why is it so impor- tant for underwater noise? Since electrification (1920’s) and establishment of home entertainment (1970’s), the world has gotten to be a lot smaller place in which we can interact with people in any corner of the world. Today we still have failure of standardization— PC vs. Mac. Even the core of our tech- nical world, the units system, is not unified. How many feet is one meter?
Certainly, we could live without a standard method for measuring ship noise, but wouldn’t uniformity be better? For the case of the first ANSI/ASA working group on underwa-
26 Acoustics Today, January 2012

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