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Longitudinal wave

requires a medium
(cannot travel in a vacuum)

is known as


Properties of Sound
A sound is a vibration The vibrating causes the air molecules near the movement to be forced closer. This is called compression As the vibration moves on, the density and air pressure becomes lower than normal and is called rarefaction Pressure wave longitudinal Frequency = pitch v = 334 m/s in air at room temperature Velocity is dependent upon the material

Can affect speed

Do molecules move faster or slower as temperature increases?

So would sound travel faster or slower as temperature increases?


Liquid Gas

Waves travel fastest in solids, slowest in gases.

Fastest in solids, slowest in gases. Air = 340 m/s water= 1440 m/s steel = 5000 m/s Supersonic: faster than the speed of sound.

Sound travels faster in warm water than in cold water By measuring the time it takes for sound to travel a known distance through the ocean the average temperature of the water can be calculated = ATOC (acoustic thermometry of ocean climate)

Speeds of Sound
at T = 20 C
Air Helium Hydrogen Water Sea water Iron/Steel Glass Aluminum 343 m/s 1005 m/s 1300 m/s 1440 m/s 1560 m/s 5000 m/s 4500 m/s 5100 m/s

The highness or lowness of sound.

Depends on the frequency of sound waves.

High frequency = High pitch

Low frequency = Low pitch

Also called LOUDNESS Amount of energy Depends on the amplitude of sound waves. (amplifier)
Large Amp. = Loud sound

Small Amp. = Soft sound

Intensity of Sound
Unit is the Bel. Named after Alexander Graham Bell More commonly used is the decibel (dB) = 0.1 Bel (in dB) = 10 log(I/I0) I is the intensity ( A2) I0 = 1.0 x 10 -10 W/m2 the threshold of

Some Intensities (in dB)

Jet plane at 30 m Threshold of pain Indoor rock concert Auto interior Street traffic Conversation Whisper Rustle of leaves 140 120 120 75 70 65 1x10-10 1x10-11

Sound waves reflecting from hard surfaces Ex.: Multiple echo resulting from the direct sound AND the reflected sound

Reverberation vs Echo

Animations courtesy of Paul Hewitt and borrowed from

Measurement of loudness
Near total silence - 0 dB
A whisper - 15 dB Normal conversation - 60 dB Lawnmower - 90 dB Threshold of pain - 120 dB

A rock concert or a jet engine - 120 dB

Gunshot, firecracker - 140 dB

Sound is a pressure wave

Animations courtesy of Paul Hewitt and borrowed from


Human Ear 20Hz--20 000 Hz

Infrasonic: below 20 Hz (below our hearing) Ultrasonic Sound: above 20,000Hz (above our hearing)

Tuning fork creating a sound wave

Animations courtesy of Paul Hewitt and borrowed from

Ultrasound can be used to create internal images of the human body
Ex. Pregnant woman gets a picture of her unborn baby

An equal mixture of all frequencies of sound Used to calm stress Used in office buildings

Yep! There is such a thing Causes: Damage to ear resulting in hearing loss Stress

Caused by destructive interference Result hardly any or no sound Bad for concert halls designers be careful!

Used to locate underwater objects and distances. ***Reflection**

Doppler Effect
Apparent change in frequency (pitch) of a sound from a moving source. Source moving toward observer:
f = f / (1-vs/v)

Source moving away from observer:

f = f / (1+vs/v)

f = frequency of source, f=frequency heard by observer, vs = velocity of source, v = velocity of sound

Change in pitch due to motion.

*Moving towards increases the pitch *Moving away decreases the pitch *Think of sirens

Guitar String creating a sound wave

Animations courtesy of Paul Hewitt and borrowed from