Pressure waves in the air cause sound waves to form. However, sound waves can also form in water and in solids. The speed of sound varies significantly depending on the temperature and medium it travels through.Know More
Sound is considered a wave, but it is not a form of electromagnetic radiation like light. Instead, sound is a pressure wave that forms when the media it is traveling in is disrupted in some way. Because it needs a medium to form and propagate, sound cannot travel in a vacuum; there is no sound in space.
The speed of sound varies based on the density of the medium it travels through. Sound travels faster in water than in air, and it travels even faster in solids. When a sound wave travels from one medium to another, much of the wave is reflected. Because of this, thin barriers can effectively block most sound.
The speed of sound is lower in the upper atmosphere, which created problems for some early aircraft. Traveling at supersonic speeds places a tremendous amount of stress on an aircraft, and the control surfaces, especially those on the tail of the plane, will cease working if the aircraft is not designed for supersonic flight.Learn more about Optics & Waves
Sound waves transfer energy by causing successive compressions and rarefactions in the particles of the medium without transporting the medium particles themselves. Sound in solids can also manifest as transverse waves, causing crests and troughs in the propagation medium.Full Answer >
Mechanical motion forms through the sound waves made by vibrating massive objects. Guitar, harp or piano strings are clear examples of the principle, but horns, percussive instruments and woodwinds also create vibrations that make sound waves. Even ordinary objects create sound waves if they vibrate.Full Answer >
The most basic characteristics of a sound wave are pitch, loudness and tone. A sound wave's frequency is experienced as the wave's pitch. The amplitude determines loudness or volume. The tone of a sound wave can be recognized by the regularity of its vibration.Full Answer >
Sound waves are longitudinal waves of sound formed as it occurs. They cannot be seen with the naked eye, but they can be represented on a graph. There, sound waves are displayed as a series of vertical lines.Full Answer >