Coupling loss factor is one of the most important parameters used in the statistical energy analysis (SEA). It regulates the energy flows between two subsystems. Theoretically, the coupling loss factors are usually calculated from the wave transmission coefficients derived using two semi-infinite systems. While the final system equation in the SEA is based on the powerful energy conservation principle, in the process the coupling loss factors are assumed to be unaffected by the configuration changes. In other words, the coupling loss factors which are experimentally or analytically determined under some ideal conditions are considered to be unchanged by the more complicated coupling conditions under a system configuration. The validity of this treatment needs to be carefully studied because there is a belief that the SEA method can be readily extended to lower frequencies so long as the coupling loss factors can be somehow satisfactorily determined. In this study, wave transmission coefficients are obtained by calculating the energy flows for a three-beam system coupled together in T-shape. Separately, the wave transmission coefficients are estimated by using energy flows calculated for each possible pairing of two beams. By comparing the results from these two different approaches, some insightful information has been obtained regarding the characteristics of the coupling loss factors in determining power flows in structures.

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