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

Jim Buick, Jonathan A Kemp, David Sharp, Maarten van Walstijn, Murray Campbell, Richard Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


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
Number of pages8
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2002


  • mesaurement pulse reflectometry
  • bore profile
  • leadpipes


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