Understanding the physics governing the interaction of sound with targets in an underwater environment is essential to improving existing target detection and classification algorithms. To illustrate techniques for identifying the key physics, an examination is made of the acoustic scattering from a water-filled cylindrical shell. Experiments were conducted that measured the acoustic scattering from a water-filled cylindrical shell in the free field, as well as proud on a sand-water interface. Two modeling techniques are employed to examine these acoustic scattering measurements. The first is a hybrid 2-D/3-D finite element (FE) model, whereby the scattering in close proximity to the target is handled via a 2-D axisymmetric FE model, and the subsequent 3-D propagation to the far field is determined via a Helmholtz integral. This model is characterized by the decomposition of the fluid pressure and its derivative in a series of azimuthal Fourier modes. The second is an analytical solution for an infinitely long cylindrical shell, coupled with a simple approximation that converts the results to an analogous finite length form function. Examining these model results on a mode-by-mode basis offers easy visualization of the mode dynamics and helps distinguish the different physics driving the target response.

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