This paper examines numerical techniques to compute the resonant frequencies and coupled mode-shapes of general structural-acoustic systems using the finite element method. This information is useful in quantifying the key frequencies and vibration patterns of elastic structures coupled to bounded or unbounded acoustic fluid volumes. This paper reviews and evaluates three finite element solution techniques that deal with the computational difficulties encountered in structural-acoustic eigen-analysis. One of the difficulties stems from the fluid-structure coupling in the finite element equations, which depending on the variable used to discretize the acoustic fluid, either introduces non-symmetric area coupling terms in the mass and stiffness matrices or adds symmetric area coupling terms in the damping matrix. The other difficulty is related to the application of a radiation boundary condition in those structural-acoustic problems involving unbounded acoustic domains. The radiation boundary condition introduces damping terms in the finite element equations that lead to a complex eigen-analysis to determine the resonant frequencies and coupled mode-shapes. The finite element techniques evaluated in this paper consist of subspace projection employing an augmented-symmetric form of the fluid-structure equations as well as new extensions of component mode synthesis (CMS). Basic examples of simplified structural-acoustic systems are used to compare the solution accuracy between the three finite element techniques. Examples consist of simplified one-dimensional (1-D) and two-dimensional (2-D) elastic structures coupled to closed and open acoustic spaces.

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