Not to be confused with hydraulophone, a musical instrument.
A hydrophone (Ancient Greek ὕδωρ = water and φωνή = sound) is a microphone designed to be used underwater for recording or listening to underwater sound. Most hydrophones are based on a piezoelectric transducer that generates electricity when subjected to a pressure change. Such piezoelectric materials, or transducers, can convert a sound signal into an electrical signal since sound is a pressure wave. Some transducers can also serve as a projector, but not all have this capability, and some may be destroyed if used in such a manner.
A hydrophone can “listen” to sound in air but will be less sensitive due to its design as having a good acoustic impedance match to water, which is a denser fluid than air. Likewise, a microphone can be buried in the ground, or immersed in water if it is put in a waterproof container, but will give similarly poor performance due to the similarly bad acoustic impedance match.
2 Directional hydrophones
2.1 Focused transducers
3 See also
6 External links
A hydrophone being lowered into the North Atlantic
The earliest widely used design was the Fessenden oscillator, an electrodynamically driven clamped-edge circular plate transducer (not actually an oscillator) operating at 500, 1000, and later 3000 Hz. It was originally marketed as an underwater telegraph, rather than as sonar, but was later very successful, its Canadian inventor, Reginald Fessenden, was awarded the “Scientific American Magazine Gold Medal of Safety” in 1929 from the American Museum of Safety, an organization for ship captains; some were still in use during World War II.
Ernest Rutherford, in England, led pioneer research in hydrophones using piezoelectric devices, and his only patent was for a hydrophone device. The acoustic impedance of piezoelectric materials facilitated their use as underwater transducers. The piezoelectric hydrophone was used late in World War I, by convoy escorts detecting U-boats, greatly impacting the effectiveness of submarines.
From late in World War I until the introduction of active sonar, hydrophones were the sole method for submarines to detect targets while submerged, and remain useful today.
A small single cylindrical ceramic transducer can achieve near perfect omnidirectional reception. Directional hydropho