Sound Properties

A sound wave is a pressure disturbance which travels through a medium by particle-to-particle interaction. As one particle becomes disturbed, it transfer it on the next adjacent particle, thus disturbing that particle and transporting the energy through the medium. the speed of a sound wave refers to how fast the disturbance is passed from particle to particle. While frequency refers to the number of vibrations which an individual particle makes per unit of time it is expressed in units of meters/second .

Speed = distance/time

The speed of any wave depends upon the properties of the medium through which the wave is traveling. Typically there are two essential types of properties which affect wave speed - inertial properties and elastic properties. Elastic properties are those properties related to the tendency of a material to maintain its shape and not deform whenever a force or stress is applied to it. In general, solids have the strongest interactions between particles, followed by liquids and then gases. For this reason, sound waves travel faster in solids than they do in liquids & than in gases. The density of a medium is an inertial property. The greater the inertia or density of medium, and the slower that the wave will be. As stated above, sound waves travel faster in solids than in liquids & in gases. However, the inertial property tends to be the property which has a greatest impact upon the speed of sound. sound wave has a speed which is related to the frequency and the wavelength of the wave.
Speed = Wavelength *Frequency

When a wave enters from one medium to another medium, a portion of the wave undergoes reflection and a portion of the wave undergoes transmission across the boundary. The amount of reflection depends upon the dissimilarity of the two medium. Reflection of sound waves from of surfaces can lead to two phenomenon echo & reverberation.

Diffraction is a change in direction of waves as it passes from a barrier in the path. The amount of diffraction increases with increasing wavelength and decreases with decreasing wavelength. Refraction of waves is a change in the direction of waves as they pass from one medium to another medium. Refraction of the path of waves, is also accompanied by a change in speed and wavelength.

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