Speed of Sound is explained in water and air

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Speed of Sound

Speed of Sound is explained in water and air

© All Rights Reserved

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15%,[1] but had neglected the eect of uctuating temperature; that was later rectied by Laplace.[2]

by a sound wave propagating through an elastic medium.

The SI unit of speed is the metre per second (m/s). In

dry air at 20 C, the speed of sound is 343.2 metres per

second (1,126 ft/s). This is 1,236 kilometres per hour

(768 mph; 667 kn), or a kilometre in 2.914 s or a mile in

4.689 s.

to measure the speed of sound accurately, including attempts by Marin Mersenne in 1630 (1,380 Parisian feet

per second), Pierre Gassendi in 1635 (1,473 Parisian feet

per second) and Robert Boyle (1,125 Parisian feet per

second).[3]

In 1709, the Reverend William Derham, Rector of Upminster, published a more accurate measure of the speed

of sound, at 1,072 Parisian feet per second.[3] Derham

used a telescope from the tower of the church of St Laurence, Upminster to observe the ash of a distant shotgun

being red, and then measured the time until he heard

the gunshot with a half second pendulum. Measurements

were made of gunshots from a number of local landmarks, including North Ockendon church. The distance

was known by triangulation, and thus the speed that the

sound had travelled could be calculated.[4]

The speed of sound in an ideal gas is independent of frequency, but does vary slightly with frequency in a real gas.

It is proportional to the square root of the absolute temperature, but is independent of pressure or density for a

given ideal gas. The speed of sound in air varies slightly

with pressure only because air is not quite an ideal gas.

Although (in the case of gases only) the speed of sound

is expressed in terms of a ratio of both density and pressure, these quantities cancel in ideal gases at any given

temperature, composition, and heat capacity. This leads

to a velocity formula for ideal gases which includes only

the latter independent variables.

In common everyday speech, speed of sound refers to the

speed of sound waves in air. However, the speed of sound

varies from substance to substance. Sound travels faster in

liquids and non-porous solids than it does in air. It travels

about 4.3 times as fast in water (1,484 m/s), and nearly 15

times as fast in iron (5,120 m/s), as in air at 20 C. Sound

waves in solids are composed of compression waves (just

as in gases and liquids), but there is also a dierent type

of sound wave called a shear wave, which occurs only

in solids. These dierent types of waves in solids usually travel at dierent speeds, as exhibited in seismology.

The speed of a compression sound wave in solids is determined by the mediums compressibility, shear modulus

and density. The speed of shear waves is determined only

by the solid materials shear modulus and density.

2 Basic concept

The transmission of sound can be illustrated by using a

model consisting of an array of balls interconnected by

springs. For real material the balls represent molecules

and the springs represent the bonds between them. Sound

passes through the model by compressing and expanding the springs, transmitting energy to neighbouring balls,

which transmit energy to their springs, and so on. The

speed of sound through the model depends on the stiness of the springs (stier springs transmit energy more

quickly). Eects like dispersion and reection can also

be understood using this model.

elastic modulus, and the mass corresponds to the density.

All other things being equal (ceteris paribus), sound will

travel more slowly in spongy materials, and faster in stier

ones. For instance, sound will travel 1.59 times faster

in nickel than in bronze, due to the greater stiness of

nickel at about the same density. Similarly, sound travels about 1.41 times faster in light hydrogen (protium)

gas than in heavy hydrogen (deuterium) gas, since deuterium has similar properties but twice the density. At the

1 History

same time, compression-type sound will travel faster in

solids than in liquids, and faster in liquids than in gases,

Sir Isaac Newton computed the speed of sound in air as because the solids are more dicult to compress than liq979 feet per second (298 m/s), which is too low by about uids, while liquids in turn are more dicult to compress

In uid dynamics, the speed of sound in a uid medium

(gas or liquid) is used as a relative measure for the speed

of an object moving through the medium. The speed

of an object divided by the speed of sound in the uid

is called the Mach number. Objects moving at speeds

greater than Mach1 are travelling at supersonic speeds.

3 EQUATIONS

than gases.

Some textbooks mistakenly state that the speed of sound

increases with increasing density. This is usually illustrated by presenting data for three materials, such as air,

water and steel, which also have vastly dierent compressibilities which more than make up for the density

dierences. An illustrative example of the two eects

is that sound travels only 4.3 times faster in water than

air, despite enormous dierences in compressibility of

the two media. The reason is that the larger density of

water, which works to slow sound in water relative to air,

nearly makes up for the compressibility dierences in the

two media.

2.1

In solids, waves propagate as two dierent types. A

longitudinal wave is associated with compression and

decompression in the direction of travel, which is the

same process as all sound waves in gases and liquids.

A transverse wave, called a shear wave in solids, is

due to elastic deformation of the medium perpendicular

to the direction of wave travel; the direction of sheardeformation is called the "polarization" of this type of

wave. In general, transverse waves occur as a pair of

orthogonal polarizations. These dierent waves (compression waves and the dierent polarizations of shear

waves) may have dierent speeds at the same frequency.

Therefore, they arrive at an observer at dierent times, an

extreme example being an earthquake, where sharp compression waves arrive rst, and rocking transverse waves

seconds later.

The speed of a compression wave in uid is determined

by the mediums compressibility and density. In solids,

the compression waves are analogous to those in uids,

depending on compressibility, density, and the additional

factor of shear modulus. The speed of shear waves, which

can occur only in solids, is determined simply by the solid

materials shear modulus and density.

3 Equations

In general, the speed of sound c is given by the Newton

Laplace equation:

Pressure-pulse or compression-type wave (longitudinal wave)

conned to a plane. This is the only type of sound wave that

travels in uids (gases and liquids)

Ks

,

c=

where

modulus (or the modulus of bulk elasticity for

gases);

is the density.

Thus the speed of sound increases with the stiness (the

resistance of an elastic body to deformation by an applied

force) of the material, and decreases with the density. For

ideal gases the bulk modulus K is simply the gas pressure

multiplied by the dimensionless adiabatic index, which is

about 1.4 for air under normal conditions of pressure and

temperature.

Transverse wave aecting atoms initially conned to a plane.

This additional type of sound wave (additional type of elastic

wave) travels only in solids, and the sideways shearing motion

may take place in any direction at right angles to the direction of

wave-travel (only one shear direction is shown here, at right angles to the plane). Furthermore, the right-angle shear direction

may change over time and distance, resulting in dierent types

of polarization of shear-waves

used, the speed of sound c is given by

(

c=

where

)

,

s

3

p is the pressure;

is the density and the derivative is taken isentropically, that is, at constant entropy s.

If relativistic eects are important, the speed of sound is

calculated from the relativistic Euler equations.

two contributions cancel out exactly. In a similar way,

compression waves in solids depend both on compressibility and densityjust as in liquidsbut in gases the

density contributes to the compressibility in such a way

that some part of each attribute factors out, leaving only

a dependence on temperature, molecular weight, and heat

capacity ratio (see derivations below). Thus, for a single

given gas (where molecular weight does not change) and

over a small temperature range (where heat capacity is

relatively constant), the speed of sound becomes dependent on only the temperature of the gas.

In a non-dispersive medium, the speed of sound is independent of sound frequency, so the speeds of energy

transport and sound propagation are the same for all frequencies. Air, a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, constitutes a non-dispersive medium. However, air does contain a small amount of CO2 which is a dispersive medium, In non-ideal gases, such as a van der Waals gas, the proand causes dispersion to air at ultrasonic frequencies (> portionality is not exact, and there is a slight dependence

28 kHz).[5]

of sound velocity on the gas pressure.

In a dispersive medium, the speed of sound is a function

of sound frequency, through the dispersion relation. Each

frequency component propagates at its own speed, called

the phase velocity, while the energy of the disturbance

propagates at the group velocity. The same phenomenon

occurs with light waves; see optical dispersion for a description.

sound (causing it to increase by about 0.1%0.6%), because oxygen and nitrogen molecules of the air are replaced by lighter molecules of water. This is a simple

mixing eect.

Dependence on the properties of

the medium

100

are the important factors, since uids do not transmit

shear stresses. In heterogeneous uids, such as a liquid

lled with gas bubbles, the density of the liquid and the

compressibility of the gas aect the speed of sound in

an additive manner, as demonstrated in the hot chocolate

eect.

In gases, adiabatic compressibility is directly related to

pressure through the heat capacity ratio (adiabatic index), and pressure and density are inversely related at

a given temperature and composition, thus making only

the latter independent properties (temperature, molecular composition, and heat capacity ratio) important. In

low molecular weight gases such as helium, sound propagates faster compared to heavier gases such as xenon

(for monatomic gases the speed of sound is about 75%

of the mean speed that molecules move in the gas). For a

given ideal gas the speed of sound depends only on its

temperature. At a constant temperature, the ideal gas

pressure has no eect on the speed of sound, because

pressure and density (also proportional to pressure) have

aurora

Speed of sound

80

Mesopause

ionosphere D layer

70

Geometric altitude (km)

The speed of sound is variable and depends on the properties of the substance through which the wave is travelling.

In solids, the speed of transverse (or shear) waves depends

on the shear deformation under shear stress (called the

shear modulus), and the density of the medium. Longitudinal (or compression) waves in solids depend on the

same two factors with the addition of a dependence on

compressibility.

Krmn line

Thermosphere

90

Temperature

60

meteor

Mesosphere

50

Stratopause

weather balloon

40

NASA X-43A

Stratosphere

30

ozone layer

SR-71 Blackbird

20

10

Concorde

Density

typical airliner

Tropopause

Mt Everest

Pressure

0

0

Troposphere

Burj Khalifa

0.5

1

Density (kg/m)

1.5

50

100

Pressure (kN/m)

150

200

250

300

Speed of sound (m/s)

350

150

200

250

Temperature (K)

300

Density and pressure decrease smoothly with altitude, but temperature (red) does not. The speed of sound (blue) depends only

on the complicated temperature variation at altitude and can be

calculated from it, since isolated density and pressure eects on

the speed of sound cancel each other. Speed of sound increases

with height in two regions of the stratosphere and thermosphere,

due to heating eects in these regions.

DETAILS

sound is dependent solely upon temperature; see Details cair = 331.3 m/s 1 + .

273.15

below. In such an ideal case, the eects of decreased density and decreased pressure of altitude cancel each other Dividing the rst part, and multiplying the second part, on

out, save for the residual eect of temperature.

the right hand side, by 273.15 gives the exactly equivaSince temperature (and thus the speed of sound) de- lent form

creases with increasing altitude up to 11 km, sound is

refracted upward, away from listeners on the ground,

creating an acoustic shadow at some distance from the cair = 20.05 m/s + 273.15.

source.[6] The decrease of the speed of sound with height

The value of 331.3 m/s, which represents the speed at

is referred to as a negative sound speed gradient.

0 C (or 273.15 K), is based on theoretical (and some

However, there are variations in this trend above 11 km.

measured) values of the heat capacity ratio, , as well as

In particular, in the stratosphere above about 20 km, the

on the fact that at 1 atm real air is very well described

speed of sound increases with height, due to an increase

by the ideal gas approximation. Commonly found values

in temperature from heating within the ozone layer. This

for the speed of sound at 0 C may vary from 331.2 to

produces a positive speed of sound gradient in this region.

331.6 due to the assumptions made when it is calculated.

Still another region of positive gradient occurs at very

If ideal gas is assumed to be 7/5 = 1.4 exactly, the 0 C

high altitudes, in the aptly-named thermosphere above 90

speed is calculated (see section below) to be 331.3 m/s,

km.

the coecient used above.

range, but still depends on the approximation of heat capacity ratio being independent of temperature, and for

this reason will fail, particularly at higher temperatures.

It gives good predictions in relatively dry, cold, low pressure conditions, such as the Earths stratosphere. The

equation fails at extremely low pressures and short wavelengths, due to dependence on the assumption that the

wavelength of the sound in the gas is much longer than

the average mean free path between gas molecule collisions. A derivation of these equations will be given in the

following section.

A graph comparing results of the two equations is at right,

using the slightly dierent value of 331.5 m/s for the

speed of sound at 0 C.

7 Details

7.1 Speed of sound in ideal gases and air

Approximation of the speed of sound in dry air based on the heat

capacity ratio (in green) against the truncated Taylor expansion

(in red).

equivalent to C, the coecient of stiness in solids) is

given by

air, in meters per second, at temperatures near 0 C, can

K = p,

be calculated from

speed of sound in an ideal gas is given by

p

,

c

=

This equation is derived from the rst two terms of the

where

where is the temperature in degrees Celsius (C).

7.1

expansion factor. It is the ratio of specic heats of

a gas at a constant-pressure to a gas at a constantvolume( Cp /Cv ), and arises because a classical

sound wave induces an adiabatic compression, in

which the heat of the compression does not have

enough time to escape the pressure pulse, and thus

contributes to the pressure induced by the compression;

gas approximation of sound velocity for gases, which

is accurate at relatively low gas pressures and densities

(for air, this includes standard Earth sea-level conditions).

Also, for diatomic gases the use of = 1.400,0 requires

that the gas exists in a temperature range high enough that

rotational heat capacity is fully excited (i.e., molecular

rotation is fully used as a heat energy partition or reservoir); but at the same time the temperature must be low

enough that molecular vibrational modes contribute no

p is the pressure;

heat capacity (i.e., insignicant heat goes into vibration,

as all vibrational quantum modes above the minimum is the density.

energy-mode, have energies too high to be populated by

a signicant number of molecules at this temperature).

Using the ideal gas law to replace p with nRT/V, and reFor air, these conditions are fullled at room temperplacing with nM/V, the equation for an ideal gas beature, and also temperatures considerably below room

comes

temperature (see tables below). See the section on gases

in specic heat capacity for a more complete discussion

of this phenomenon.

p

RT

kT

cideal = =

=

,

For air, we use a simplied symbol

M

m

where

c is the speed of sound in an ideal gas;

R = R/Mair .

R (approximately 8.314,5 J mol1 K1 ) is the to be used to calculate air speed in the region near 273

molar gas constant;[7]

kelvin, then Celsius temperature = T 273.15 may be

used. Then

k is the Boltzmann constant;

(gamma) is the adiabatic index (sometimes assumed 7/5 = 1.400 for diatomic molecules from kinetic theory, assuming from quantum theory a temperature range at which thermal energy is fully partitioned into rotation (rotations are fully excited),

but none into vibrational modes. Gamma is actually experimentally measured over a range from

1.399,1 to 1.403 at 0 C, for air. Gamma is assumed

from kinetic theory to be exactly 5/3 = 1.666,7 for

monatomic gases such as noble gases);

T is the absolute temperature;

R T = R ( + 273.15),

cideal = R 273.15 1 +

.

273.15

For dry air, where (theta) is the temperature in degrees

Celsius(C).

cideal =

M is the molar mass of the gas. The mean molar is the molar gas constant in J/mole/Kelvin, and

mass for dry air is about 0.028,964,5 kg/mol;

n is the number of moles;

is the mean molar mass of air, in kg; and using the ideal

diatomic gas value of = 1.400,0.

Then

perturbation on the ambient condition, and the certain

other noted conditions are fullled, as noted below. Cal

culated values for c have been found to vary slightly

[8]

cair = 331.3 m/s 1 +

from experimentally determined values.

C

.

273.15 C

Newton famously considered the speed of sound beUsing the rst two terms of the Taylor expansion:

fore most of the development of thermodynamics and

so incorrectly used isothermal calculations instead of

adiabatic. His result was missing the factor of but was

C

cair = 331.3 m/s(1 +

),

otherwise correct.

2 273.15 C

In fact, assuming an ideal gas, the speed of sound c deThe derivation includes the rst two equations given in pends on temperature only, not on the pressure or density (since these change in lockstep for a given temperthe Practical formula for dry air section above.

ature and cancel out). Air is almost an ideal gas. The

temperature of the air varies with altitude, giving the following variations in the speed of sound using the standard

7.2 Eects due to wind shear

atmosphereactual conditions may vary.

The speed of sound varies with temperature. Since tem- Given normal atmospheric conditions, the temperature,

perature and sound velocity normally decrease with in- and thus speed of sound, varies with altitude:

creasing altitude, sound is refracted upward, away from

listeners on the ground, creating an acoustic shadow at

some distance from the source.[6] Wind shear of 4 m/(s

8 Eect of frequency and gas comkm) can produce refraction equal to a typical temperature

[9]

position

lapse rate of 7.5 C/km. Higher values of wind gradient will refract sound downward toward the surface in the

downwind direction,[10] eliminating the acoustic shadow 8.1 General physical considerations

on the downwind side. This will increase the audibility

of sounds downwind. This downwind refraction eect The medium in which a sound wave is travelling does not

occurs because there is a wind gradient; the sound is not always respond adiabatically, and as a result the speed of

being carried along by the wind.[11]

sound can vary with frequency.[15]

For sound propagation, the exponential variation of wind The limitations of the concept of speed of sound due to

speed with height can be dened as follows:[12]

extreme attenuation are also of concern. The attenuation which exists at sea level for high frequencies applies

to successively lower frequencies as atmospheric pressure

U (h) = U (0)h ,

decreases, or as the mean free path increases. For this

reason, the concept of speed of sound (except for fredU

U (h)

(h) =

,

quencies approaching zero) progressively loses its range

dH

h

of applicability at high altitudes.[8] The standard equawhere

tions for the speed of sound apply with reasonable accuracy only to situations in which the wavelength of the

U(h) is the speed of the wind at height h;

soundwave is considerably longer than the mean free path

is the exponential coecient based on ground sur- of molecules in a gas.

face roughness, typically between 0.08 and 0.52;

The molecular composition of the gas contributes both as

dU/dH(h) is the expected wind gradient at height h. the mass (M) of the molecules, and their heat capacities,

and so both have an inuence on speed of sound. In genIn the 1862 American Civil War Battle of Iuka, an acous- eral, at the same molecular mass, monatomic gases have

tic shadow, believed to have been enhanced by a north- slightly higher speed of sound (over 9% higher) because

east wind, kept two divisions of Union soldiers out of the they have a higher (5/3 = 1.66) than diatomics do

battle,[13] because they could not hear the sounds of battle (7/5 = 1.4). Thus, at the same molecular mass, the speed

of sound of a monatomic gas goes up by a factor of

only 10 km (six miles) downwind.[14]

7.3

Tables

T 0 is 273.15 K (= 0 C = 32 F), giving a theoretical

value of 331.3 m/s (= 1086.9 ft/s = 1193 km/h =

741.1 mph = 644.0 kn). Values ranging from 331.3331.6 may be found in reference literature, however;

T 20 is 293.15 K (= 20 C = 68 F), giving a value of

343.2 m/s (= 1126.0 ft/s = 1236 km/h = 767.8 mph

= 667.2 kn);

cgas,monatomic

=

cgas,diatomic

5/3

=

7/5

25

= 1.091 . . .

21

This gives the 9% dierence, and would be a typical ratio for speeds of sound at room temperature in helium

vs. deuterium, each with a molecular weight of 4. Sound

travels faster in helium than deuterium because adiabatic compression heats helium more, since the helium

molecules can store heat energy from compression only

in translation, but not rotation. Thus helium molecules

(monatomic molecules) travel faster in a sound wave and

transmit sound faster. (Sound generally travels at about

70% of the mean molecular speed in gases).

346.1 m/s (= 1135.6 ft/s = 1246 km/h = 774.3 mph Note that in this example we have assumed that tempera= 672.8 kn).

ture is low enough that heat capacities are not inuenced

10.1

by molecular vibration (see heat capacity). However, vibrational modes simply cause gammas which decrease toward 1, since vibration modes in a polyatomic gas gives

the gas additional ways to store heat which do not aect

temperature, and thus do not aect molecular velocity

and sound velocity. Thus, the eect of higher temperatures and vibrational heat capacity acts to increase the

dierence between the speed of sound in monatomic vs.

polyatomic molecules, with the speed remaining greater

in monatomics.

8.2

sound in air is temperature. The speed is proportional

to the square root of the absolute temperature, giving an

increase of about 0.6 m/s per degree Celsius. For this

reason, the pitch of a musical wind instrument increases

as its temperature increases.

The speed of sound is raised by humidity but decreased

by carbon dioxide. The dierence between 0% and

100% humidity is about 1.5 m/s at standard pressure and

temperature, but the size of the humidity eect increases

dramatically with temperature. The carbon dioxide content of air is not xed, due to both carbon pollution and

human breath (e.g., in the air blown through wind instruments).

The dependence on frequency and pressure are normally

insignicant in practical applications. In dry air, the speed

of sound increases by about 0.1 m/s as the frequency rises

from 10 Hz to 100 Hz. For audible frequencies above

100 Hz it is relatively constant. Standard values of the

speed of sound are quoted in the limit of low frequencies,

where the wavelength is large compared to the mean free

path.[16]

of sound in air was made by William Derham, and acknowledged by Isaac Newton. Derham had a telescope

at the top of the tower of the Church of St Laurence

in Upminster, England. On a calm day, a synchronized

pocket watch would be given to an assistant who would

re a shotgun at a pre-determined time from a conspicuous point some miles away, across the countryside. This

could be conrmed by telescope. He then measured

the interval between seeing gunsmoke and arrival of the

sound using a half-second pendulum. The distance from

where the gun was red was found by triangulation, and

simple division (distance/time) provided velocity. Lastly,

by making many observations, using a range of dierent distances, the inaccuracy of the half-second pendulum could be averaged out, giving his nal estimate of the

speed of sound. Modern stopwatches enable this method

to be used today over distances as short as 200400 meters, and not needing something as loud as a shotgun.

Mach number

Mach number, a useful quantity in aerodynamics, is the

ratio of air speed to the local speed of sound. At altitude, for reasons explained, Mach number is a function

of temperature. Aircraft ight instruments, however, operate using pressure dierential to compute Mach number, not temperature. The assumption is that a particular

pressure represents a particular altitude and, therefore, a

standard temperature. Aircraft ight instruments need to

operate this way because the stagnation pressure sensed

by a Pitot tube is dependent on altitude as well as speed.

10

U.S. Navy F/A-18 traveling near the speed of sound. The white

halo consists of condensed water droplets formed by the sudden

drop in air pressure behind the shock cone around the aircraft

(see Prandtl-Glauert singularity).[17]

Experimental methods

The simplest concept is the measurement made using two

microphones and a fast recording device such as a digital

storage scope. This method uses the following idea.

If a sound source and two microphones are arranged in a

straight line, with the sound source at one end, then the

following can be measured:

1. The distance between the microphones (x), called

microphone basis.

2. The time of arrival between the signals (delay)

reaching the dierent microphones (t).

Then v = x/t.

of sound in air.

10.2

11

NON-GASEOUS MEDIA

Other methods

(secondary waves), respectively. The sound velocities of

In these methods the time measurement has been these two types of waves propagating in a homogeneous

replaced by a measurement of the inverse of time 3-dimensional solid are respectively given by[19]

(frequency).

K + 43 G

E(1 )

be used to measure the speed of sound in a small volume.

c

=

=

,

It has the advantage of being able to measure the speed solid,p

(1 + )(1 2)

of sound in any gas. This method uses a powder to make

G

csolid,s =

,

an example of a compact experimental setup.

where

which is dipping into a barrel of water. In this system it

is the case that the pipe can be brought to resonance if

K is the bulk modulus of the elastic materials;

the length of the air column in the pipe is equal to (1 +

2n)/4 where n is an integer. As the antinodal point for

G is the shear modulus of the elastic materials;

the pipe at the open end is slightly outside the mouth of

the pipe it is best to nd two or more points of resonance

E is the Youngs modulus;

and then measure half a wavelength between these.

is the density;

Here it is the case that v = f.

is Poissons ratio.

10.3

2). Note that the speed of pressure waves depends

The eect from impurities can be signicant when mak- both on the pressure and shear resistance properties of

ing high-precision measurements. Chemical desiccants the material, while the speed of shear waves depends on

can be used to dry the air, but will in turn contaminate the the shear properties only.

sample. The air can be dried cryogenically, but this has

the eect of removing the carbon dioxide as well; there- Typically, pressure waves travel faster in materials than

fore many high-precision measurements are performed do shear waves, and in earthquakes this is the reason

with air free of carbon dioxide rather than with natural that the onset of an earthquake is often preceded by a

air. A 2002 review[18] found that a 1963 measurement quick upward-downward shock, before arrival of waves

by Smith and Harlow using a cylindrical resonator gave that produce a side-to-side motion. For example, for a

the most probable value of the standard speed of sound typical steel alloy, K = 170 GPa, G = 80 GPa and =

3

to date. The experiment was done with air from which 7,700 kg/m , yielding a compressional speed c , of

[19]

the carbon dioxide had been removed, but the result was 6,000 m/s. This is in reasonable agreement with c ,

then corrected for this eect so as to be applicable to real measured experimentally at 5,930 m/s for a (possibly dif[20]

The shear speed c , is estiair. The experiments were done at 30 C but corrected ferent) type of steel.

for temperature in order to report them at 0 C. The result mated at 3,200 m/s using the same numbers.

was 331.45 0.01 m/s for dry air at STP, for frequencies

from 93 Hz to 1,500 Hz.

11.1.2 One-dimensional solids

11

Non-gaseous media

11.1

11.1.1

Three-dimensional solids

In a solid, there is a non-zero stiness both for volumetric deformations and shear deformations. Hence, it is

possible to generate sound waves with dierent velocities dependent on the deformation mode. Sound waves

generating volumetric deformations (compression) and

shear deformations (shearing) are called pressure waves

(longitudinal waves) and shear waves (transverse waves),

respectively. In earthquakes, the corresponding seismic

The speed of sound for pressure waves in sti materials such as metals is sometimes given for long rods of

the material in question, in which the speed is easier to

measure. In rods where their diameter is shorter than a

wavelength, the speed of pure pressure waves may be simplied and is given by:

csolid =

E

,

expression for shear waves, save that Youngs modulus

replaces the shear modulus. This speed of sound for pressure waves in long rods will always be slightly less than the

11.2

the ratio of the speeds in the two dierent types of objects depends on Poissons ratio for the material.

11.2

0.0

-0.5

-1.0

Depth (km)

-1.5

-2.0

-2.5

-3.0

-3.5

-4.0

-4.5

Speed of sound in water vs temperature.

-5.0

In a uid the only non-zero stiness is to volumetric deformation (a uid does not sustain shear forces).

-5.5

cfluid =

K

,

11.2.1

Water

25 C.[21] See Technical Guides - Speed of Sound in

Pure Water for an online calculator. Applications of

underwater sound can be found in sonar, acoustic communication and acoustical oceanography. See Discovery

of Sound in the Sea for other examples of the uses of

sound in the ocean (by both man and other animals).

Hawaii in the Pacic Ocean derived from the 2005 World Ocean

Atlas. The SOFAR channel is centered on the minimum in the

speed of sound at ca. 750-m depth.

with increasing depth (right).[23] For more information

see Dushaw et al.[24]

A simple empirical equation for the speed of sound in sea

water with reasonable accuracy for the worlds oceans is

due to Mackenzie:[25]

where

11.2.2

Seawater

In salt water that is free of air bubbles or suspended sed S is the salinity in parts per thousand;

iment, sound travels at about 1500 m/s. The speed of

sound in seawater depends on pressure (hence depth),

z is the depth in meters.

temperature (a change of 1 C ~ 4 m/s), and salinity (a

change of 1 ~ 1 m/s), and empirical equations have

The constants a1 , a2 , , a9 are

been derived to accurately calculate the speed of sound

[22]

from these variables. Other factors aecting the speed

of sound are minor. Since temperature decreases with a = 1, 448.96,

a2 = 4.591,

a3 = 5.304 102 ,

1

depth while pressure and generally salinity increase, the

4

a6 = 1.630 102 ,

prole of the speed of sound with depth generally shows a4 = 2.374 10 , a5 = 1.340,

a characteristic curve which decreases to a minimum at a7 = 1.675 107 , a8 = 1.025 102 , a9 = 7.139 1013 ,

10

14

per thousand, z = 1,000 m. This equation has a standard

error of 0.070 m/s for salinity between 25 and 40 ppt.

See Technical Guides. Speed of Sound in Sea-Water for

an online calculator.

Other equations for the speed of sound in sea water are

accurate over a wide range of conditions, but are far more

complicated, e.g., that by V. A. Del Grosso[26] and the

Chen-Millero-Li Equation.[24][27]

11.3

the electrons are hotter than the ions (but not too much

hotter) is given by the formula (see here)

where

REFERENCES

faint.

A similar eect occurs in the atmosphere. Project Mogul

successfully used this eect to detect a nuclear explosion

at a considerable distance.

13 See also

Acoustoelastic eect

Elastic wave

Second sound

Sonic boom

Sound barrier

Underwater acoustics

Vibrations

is the ratio of ion mass to proton mass = m/m ;

14 References

Z is the charge state;

k is Boltzmann constant;

is the adiabatic index.

In contrast to a gas, the pressure and the density are provided by separate species, the pressure by the electrons

and the density by the ions. The two are coupled through

a uctuating electric eld.

12

Gradients

When sound spreads out evenly in all directions in three

dimensions, the intensity drops in proportion to the inverse square of the distance. However, in the ocean there

is a layer called the 'deep sound channel' or SOFAR channel which can conne sound waves at a particular depth.

2015.

[2] Bannon, Mike; Kaputa, Frank. The NewtonLaplace

Equation and Speed of Sound. Thermal Jackets. Retrieved 3 May 2015.

[3] Murdin, Paul (Dec 25, 2008). Full Meridian of Glory:

Perilous Adventures in the Competition to Measure the

Earth. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 3536.

ISBN 9780387755342.

[4] Fox, Tony (2003). Essex Journal. Essex Arch & Hist Soc.

pp. 1216.

[5] Dean, E. A. (August 1979). Atmospheric Eects on the

Speed of Sound, Technical report of Defense Technical

Information Center

[6] Everest, F. (2001). The Master Handbook of Acoustics.

New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 262263. ISBN 0-07136097-2.

[7] CODATA Value: molar gas constant. Physics.nist.gov.

Retrieved 24 October 2010.

that in the layers above and below. Just as light waves [8] U.S. Standard Atmosphere, 1976, U.S. Government

Printing Oce, Washington, D.C., 1976.

will refract towards a region of higher index, sound waves

will refract towards a region where their speed is reduced.

[9] Uman, Martin (1984). Lightning. New York: Dover PubThe result is that sound gets conned in the layer, much

lications. ISBN 0-486-64575-4.

the way light can be conned in a sheet of glass or optical

ber. Thus, the sound is conned in essentially two di- [10] Volland, Hans (1995). Handbook of Atmospheric Electromensions. In two dimensions the intensity drops in prodynamics. Boca Raton: CRC Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-84938647-0.

portion to only the inverse of the distance. This allows

11

Oxford: Alpha Science International. p. 7. ISBN 184265-237-0. It may be seen that refraction eects occur

only because there is a wind gradient and it is not due to

the result of sound being convected along by the wind.

[12] Bies, David (2004). Engineering Noise Control, Theory

and Practice. London: Spon Press. p. 235. ISBN 0-41526713-7. As wind speed generally increases with altitude,

wind blowing towards the listener from the source will refract sound waves downwards, resulting in increased noise

levels.

[13] Cornwall, Sir (1996). Grant as Military Commander.

New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 92. ISBN 1-56619-9131.

Further Evidence that the Sound-Speed Algorithm of

Del Grosso Is More Accurate Than that of Chen and

Millero. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

102 (4): 20582062. Bibcode:1997ASAJ..102.2058M.

doi:10.1121/1.419655.

15 External links

Calculation: Speed of Sound in Air and the Temperature

Speed of sound: Temperature Matters, Not Air

Pressure

[14] Cozens, Peter (2006). The Darkest Days of the War: the

Battles of Iuka and Corinth. Chapel Hill: The University

of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-5783-1.

2014.

Antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 24 October 2010.

p. 52

Ed., John Wiley and sons Inc., New York, USA

the Speed of Sound

testing of materials, 4th fully revised edition, SpringerVerlag, Berlin, Germany, p. 497

[21] Speed of Sound in Water at Temperatures between 32

212 oF (0100 oC) imperial and SI units. The Engineering Toolbox.

[22] APL-UW TR 9407 High-Frequency Ocean Environmental Acoustic Models Handbook, pp. I1-I2.

[23] How Fast Does Sound Travel?". Discovery of Sound

in the Sea. University of Rhode Island. Retrieved 30

November 2010.

[24] Dushaw, Brian D.; Worcester, P. F.; Cornuelle,

B. D.; Howe, B. M. (1993). On Equations for

the Speed of Sound in Seawater.

Journal of

the Acoustical Society of America 93 (1): 255275.

Bibcode:1993ASAJ93..255D. doi:10.1121/1.405660.

[25] Kenneth V., Mackenzie (1981).

Discussion of

sea-water sound-speed determinations.

Journal of

the Acoustical Society of America 70 (3): 801806.

Bibcode:1981ASAJ70..801M. doi:10.1121/1.386919.

[26] Del Grosso, V. A. (1974). New equation for speed

of sound in natural waters (with comparisons to other

equations)". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 56 (4): 10841091. Bibcode:1974ASAJ56.1084D.

doi:10.1121/1.1903388.

12

16

16

16.1

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