This paper describes a graphical technique used for investigating the effects of structural design changes on the sound pressure levels generated in an automobile compartment. Low frequency noise in the passenger compartment (in approximately the 20–85 Hz frequency range) is of primary interest, and particularly that noise which is generated by the structural vibrations of the wall panels and various other smaller parts of the compartment. A designer faced with reducing the noise levels at various frequencies typically has several hundred design variables as candidates for change. This paper describes a computer interface that facilitates understanding of the effect various design changes have on the noise levels. This interface allows the designer to investigate the design space to determine which variables hold the most promise for achieving the objectives of noise reduction and allows the designer to set targets or constraints, to a desired confidence level, using the sensitivity information of these design variables. The design targets set in this manner are then input to an optimization algorithm which solves for the optimized sound pressure level.

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