Bubble Curtain

Bubble Curtain Sounds


An active bubble curtain surrounds an offshore pile driving installation. Image courtesy of Georg Nehls.

Close-up view of a bubble curtain in operation. One can see the streams of bubbles exiting the hose of the bubble curtain. Image courtesy of Georg Nehls.



Bubble curtains can be deployed to reduce or mitigate impacts from high noise levels produced by pile-driving. Air streaming from closely spaced release points creates a “wall” of bubbles around the pile. Because air and water have a substantial impedance mismatch, the bubble curtain acts as a reflector. The bubbles also resonate in response to sound and absorb sound energy. Up to a 30 dB reduction in sound has been measured when bubble curtains are deployed with pile driving.

Additional Links on DOSITS

Additional Resources

  • Reyff, J. A. (2003). Underwater Sound Levels Associated with Construction of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge: Acoustical Evaluation of an Unconfined Air-Bubble Curtain System at Pier 13. Illingworth & Rodkin, Inc., Petaluma, California.


  • Lucke, K., Lepper, P. A., Blanchet, M.-A., & Siebert, U. (2011). The use of an air bubble curtain to reduce the received sound levels for harbor porpoises ( Phocoena phocoena ). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(5), 3406–3412. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3626123
  • Reyff, J. A. (2009). Reducing Underwater Sounds with Air Bubble Curtains. In TR News: May-June 2009 Transportation and the Environment: Mutual Enhancements. Transportation Research Board. https://doi.org/10.17226/22039
  • Würsig, B., Greene, C. R., & Jefferson, T. A. (2000). Development of an air bubble curtain to reduce underwater noise of percussive piling. Marine Environmental Research, 49(1), 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0141-1136(99)00050-1