In this paper, we study the phenomenon of separation of traveling and standing waves in a one-dimensional rigid-walled circular duct. The underlying mechanism for separation, mode complexity, is linear and introduced here by a damped side branch representing an impedance discontinuity. The left end of the duct is driven at a single frequency by a harmonic acoustic source, and the right end is a rigid termination. The position and impedance of the side branch are independent parameters in the analysis. Sufficient conditions for acoustic wave separation in the duct are derived analytically and employed in a three-dimensional finite element analysis to verify the theoretical result. A physical experiment, consisting of a circular duct with a damped side branch, was constructed based on analytical predictions, the physical parameters were measured or identified, and its performance was documented. These experimental parameters were employed in a second three-dimensional finite element analysis to obtain a direct comparison with experimental results. The comparison reveals the extent to which higher-order (unmodeled) effects degrade the separation phenomenon. It is demonstrated that an intermediate damped side branch used as a nonresonant device can be predictively designed to achieve nearly ideal separation of traveling and standing waves in a rigid-walled circular duct in order to direct and control acoustic energy transmission through the duct system.

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