Mechanical Waves and Sound

Ch. 17
Physical Science

Mechanical Waves
Properties of Mechanical
17.1 / 17.2
Physical Science CIA

What are mechanical waves?
What do you think waves carry?
Can you see waves?

Mechanical Waves
• Mechanical waves are disturbances
in matter that carry energy from one
place to another.
– Usually require matter through which to
– The matter a wave travels through is
called a medium.
• Medium can be a solid, liquid, or gas
• Some waves can travel through space…
with no medium!

How are mechanical waves created? .

Creation of mechanical waves: • Need a source of energy! • That energy causes a vibration to travel through the medium .

Types of Mechanical Waves • Transverse: – A wave that causes the medium to vibrate at right angles to the direction of the wave .

Parts of a transverse wave: .

Types of Mechanical Waves. • Transverse • Longitudinal: – A wave in which the vibration of the medium is parallel to the direction the wave travels . ctd.

Parts of a longitudinal wave: .

Remember! • A wave doesn’t move the medium…it’s just energy traveling through the medium! .

Transverse and Longitudinal Wave Which is which? .


ctd. • Transverse • Longitudinal • Surface: – A wave that travels along a surface separating two media .Types of Mechanical Waves.


Period vs Frequency • Period – (T) – The time it takes for one cycle (= how long?) – Measured in seconds • Frequency – (f) – The number of cycles in a given time (= how many?) – Measured in Hertz (Hz) • Frequency is the inverse of the Period f=1/T .

Speed of a wave • We find speed by distance divided by time. – The same holds true for waves! • Speed of a wave = Wavelength/Period • Speed of a wave = Wavelength*Frequency .

• The speed can change when a wave enters a new medium • All waves of the same type travel at the same speed – This means wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency! • If the wavelength increases the frequency has to decrease! • If the wavelength decreases the frequency has to increase! .Speed of a Wave • The speed of a wave is constant within a medium.

Practice Problem #1 A wave in a spring has a wavelength of 0.1 meters and a period of 0. What is the speed of the wave? • L • G • E • P • S .2 seconds.

4 meters/second.0 Hz and a speed of 0.Practice Problem #2 Find the wavelength of a wave in a rope that has a frequency of 2. • L • G • E • P • S .

3 Physical Science CIA .Behavior of Waves 17.

What happens when… • • • • A wave meets a hard surface like a wall? A wave enters a new medium? A wave moves around an obstacle? A wave meets another wave? .

BUT the wave can be flipped upside down! .A wave meets a hard surface like a wall? • Reflection – A wave bounces off a surface that it can not pass through • Reflection does not change the speed or frequency of the wave.

How? .

A wave enters a new medium? • Refraction – The bending of a wave as it enters a new medium • The wave bends because as it enters a new medium it either speeds up or slows down! .

Refraction .

Refraction .

A wave moves around an obstacle? • Diffraction – the bending of a wave as it moves around an obstacle or passes through a narrow opening .

Diffraction .

– Constructive – Destructive .A wave meets another wave? • Interference – when two or more waves overlap and combine together.

Constructive Interference • Two or more waves combine to produce a wave with a larger displacement .

Destructive Interference • Two or more waves combine to produce a wave with a smaller displacement .

.Standing Waves • Occur because of interference! • A standing wave is a wave that appears to stay in one place.

Parts of a Standing wave • Node – Where there is no displacement of the medium in a standing wave • Antinode – Where there is maximum displacement of the medium in a standing wave .

How do standing waves fit on a string? • Standing waves only form if a half a wavelength or a multiple of half a wavelength fits exactly into the length of a vibrating string .

4 Physical Science CIA .Sound and Hearing 17.

Properties of Sound Waves • What type of waves are sound waves? .

Sounds behave in certain ways because of the properties of sound waves. ctd.Properties. Some properties are: • Speed • Intensity & Loudness • Frequency & Pitch .

slowest in gases – Travel fastest in the most dense media – Speed of Sound animation . depending on medium – Travel fastest in solids.Speed • Speed of sound = 342 m/s …THAT’S 765 mph! • Sound speed varies.

Intensity • Intensity: the rate at which a wave’s energy flows through an area • Sound intensity depends on – Amplitude – Distance from source • Measured in decibels (dB) .


so does loudness. but loudness also depends on the listener’s ears and brain. . • As intensity increases.Loudness • Subjective! (This means it depends on the person who is hearing it. physical response to the intensity of sound.) • Loudness is a personal.

Frequency & Pitch • Frequency of a sound wave depends on how fast the source of the sound is vibrating. and low frequency sounds are low pitched. • Pitch also depends on age and health . • Pitch is how we hear frequency of sound waves • Pitch depends on frequency…high frequency sounds are high pitched.

Frequency and Pitch animation .

000 Hz.Ultrasound • Most people hear sounds between 20 and 20. – Infrasound – sound at frequencies lower than people usually hear – Ultrasound – sound at frequencies higher than people usually hear • Used in technologies such as sonar and ultrasound imaging .

Ultrasound. ctd. • Sonar – a technique used to determine the distance to an object under water. • Ultrasound – medical technique used to take pictures of different organs (or a fetus!) .

The Doppler Effect • Where have you heard of the term “Doppler”? • Doppler Effect: a change in sound frequency (pitch) caused by the motion of the sound source. the listener. or both • Why do we observe this? • Doppler Effect animation .

Hearing and the Ear • Your ear has a membrane that vibrates when sound waves hit it…what is this membrane? • The Ear animation .

Hearing & the Ear Ear consists of 3 main parts • Outer Ear – gathers and focuses sound • Middle Ear – receives and amplifies vibrations • Inner Ear – uses nerve endings to sense vibrations and send signals to the brain .


and then played back? .Reproduction of Sound • What are some ways that sound is stored? • How do you think sound is stored.

Reproduction of Sound • To record: sound waves must be converted into electronic signals that can be stored • To reproduce: electronic signals are converted back into sound waves .

Music • Musical instruments change their pitch by changing the frequency of the waves they produce… how do they do this? • Reflection animation .