As excess water is discharged from a high dam, low frequency noise (air pulsation lower than 10 Hz, LFN) is generated and propagated in the surrounding areas, causing environmental hazards such as the vibration of windows and doors and the discomfort of local residents. To study the generation mechanisms and key influencing factors of LFN induced by flood discharge and energy dissipation from a high dam with a ski-jump type spillway, detailed prototype observations and analyses of LFN are carried out. The discharge flow field is simulated and analyzed using a gas-liquid turbulent flow model. The acoustic response characteristics of the air cavity, which is formed between the discharge nappe and dam body, are analyzed using an acoustic numerical model. The multi-sources generation mechanisms are first proposed basing on the prototype observation results, vortex sound model, turbulent flow model and acoustic numerical model. Two kinds of sources of LFN are studied. One comes from the energy dissipation of submerged jets in the plunge pool, the other comes from nappe-cavity coupled vibration. The results of the analyses reveal that the submerged jets in the plunge pool only contribute to an on-site LFN energy of 0–1.0 Hz, and the strong shear layers around the high-velocity submerged jets and wall jet development areas are the main acoustic source regions of LFN in the plunge pool. In addition, the nappe-cavity coupled vibration, which is induced when the discharge nappe vibrates with close frequency to the model frequency of the cavity, can induce on-site LFN energy with wider frequency spectrum energy within 0–4.0 Hz. By contrast, the contribution degrees to LFN energy from two acoustic sources are almost same, while the contribution degree from nappe-cavity coupled vibration is slightly higher.
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