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Significant infrasound levels a previously unrecognized contaminant in landmark motion sickness studies

Abstract. Airborne Infrasound at any given point can be accurately described as fluctuations or cyclic changes in the local barometric pressure. Variations in a motion sickness test subject’s elevation, result in fluctuations in the surrounding barometric pressure by a similar amount to that experienced on a ship in high seas. Cyclic variation in the lateral or linear velocity of a subject in a vehicle or platform in atmospheric air may also be subject to infrasonic pressure fluctuations due to the Bernoulli principle and associated with vortex shedding effects. Calculations presented demonstrate that in at least one landmark study (McCauley et al 1976) test subjects were exposed to infrasonic sound pressure levels in excess of 105 dB at discrete frequencies between 0.063 Hz and 0.7Hz. The infrasonic sound pressure level necessarily present in cyclic motion in free atmospheric air does not appear to have been accounted for as a nausea influencing factor in the McCauley et al (1976) motion sickness studies.

Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 20, 040007 (2014)

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