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As part of the sediment acoustics experiment 1999 (SAX99), backscattering from a sand sediment was measured in the 20- to 300-kHz range for incident grazing angles from 10° to 40°. Measured backscattering strengths are compared to three different scattering models: a fluid model that uses the mass density of the sediment in determining backscattering, a poroelastic model based on Biot theory and an "effective density" fluid model derived from Biot theory. These comparisons rely heavily on the extensive environmental characterization carried out during SAX99. This environmental characterization is most complete at spatial scales relevant to acoustic frequencies from 20 to 50 kHz. Model/data comparisons lead to the conclusions that rough surface scattering is the dominant scattering mechanism in the 20-50-kHz frequency range and that the Biot and effective density fluid models are more accurate than the fluid model in predicting the measured scattering strengths. For 50-150 kHz, rough surface scattering strengths predicted by the Biot and effective density fluid models agree well with the data for grazing angles below the critical angle of the sediment (about 30°) but above the critical angle the trends of the models and the data differ. At 300 kHz, data/model comparisons indicate that the dominant scattering mechanism may no longer be rough surface scattering.
Date of Publication: Jul 2002