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Distinguishing between similar tubular objects using pulse reflectometry: a study of trumpet and cornet leadpipes

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  • Dr James Buick
  • J. Kemp
  • D. B. Sharp
  • M. van Walstijn
  • D. M. Campbell
  • R. A. Smith
This paper considers the measurement of the internal radius of a number of similar, short, tubular leadpipes using pulse reflectometry. Pulse reflectometry is an acoustical technique for measuring the internal bore of a tubular object by analysing the reflections which occur when an acoustical pulse is directed into the object. The leadpipes are designed to form the initial, or lead, part of a trumpet or cornet and their internal radii differ by less than 0.1 mm between similar pipes. The ability of the reflectometer to detect these small differences, which are considered by players to produce a noticeable difference in the sound of an instrument, are investigated. It is seen that the pulse reflectometer is able to distinguish between leadpipes with different nominal radii varying by as little as 0.03 mm, demonstrating its potential in the study of musical instruments and showing that it can be used as a diagnostic tool by the instrument manufacturer to detect defects which are significant enough to acoustically alter performance. The absolute accuracy of the radius measurements is also considered at the end of the leadpipe, where the uncertainty is ±0.05 mm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-757
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number5
Early online date18 Apr 2002
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


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    Rights statement: “This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in [insert name of journal]. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at 10.1088/0957-0233/13/5/313.”

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    Licence: CC BY

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