The scattering of sound at a sudden area expansion in a duct with subsonic mean flow has been modelled with a multimodal method. Technological applications are for instance internal combustion engine exhaust silencers and silencers in industrial duct systems. Both 2D rectangular and 2D cylindrical geometries are considered. The influence of the mean flow profile, and the-in this method-associated application of an acoustic Kutta condition at the edge of the area discontinuity, is investigated. The scattering coefficients for the plane waves are found to change smoothly as the flow profile is changed gradually from one, where the acoustic Kutta condition is applied to one where it is not applied. Furthermore, for high Strouhal numbers no difference is observed in the results for the scattering coefficients obtained for different flow profiles. Also, at low Strouhal numbers the magnitudes of the scattering coefficients are the same for different profiles. The influence of the ratio of the heights (in 2D rectangular geometry), respectively, radii (in 2D cylindrical geometry), of the ducts upstream and downstream of the area expansion on the scattering coefficients is examined. Around a certain Strouhal number, a specific feature in the scattering coefficients is observed when the ratio of the duct heights or radii is less than 0.5. This is found to be connected to a strong interaction between the first evanescent acoustic mode and the hydrodynamic instability mode. For non-uniform flow even an apparent jump between the first evanescent acoustic mode and the hydrodynamic unstable mode and a corresponding jump in scattering coefficients is observed, when employing causality analysis according to the Briggs-Bers or Crighton-Leppington procedure. This implies that in fact an absolute instability occurs. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.