Sound is a mechanical wave resulting from the back and forth vibration of the particles of the medium through which the wave is moving. The compressions and rarefactions of sound waves move parallel to the direction of wave propagation, making sound a longitudinal wave.Know More
Sound can also be defined subjectively as the human interpretation of these mechanical waves by the auditory sense. This definition is somewhat restrictive, as it excludes subsonic and supersonic frequencies that the human ear cannot perceive. Unlike electromagnetic waves, which can travel in a vacuum completely devoid of material, a compressible medium must be present for sound to propagate through it. Sound waves can propagate through practically all forms of matter, provided that this matter is packed densely enough.
The particles of the medium do not travel with the sound wave. Instead, they vibrate around their fixed positions, transferring energy to their neighboring particles. The behavior of a sound wave is affected by the density of the medium, the temperature of the medium and the pressure of the medium if it is a gas. Motion of the medium independent of the sound wave may also affect the way sound propagates. For example, wind flowing in the same direction as a sound wave enables the wave to carry farther.Learn more about Optics & Waves
Sound waves are produced by vibration that causes the molecules of a medium to form alternating high- and low-pressure fronts. These waves can travel through solids, liquids and sufficiently dense gases.Full Answer >
The speed of sound is dependent on the medium through which it is traveling. Under typical conditions, at sea level, sound travels 1,225 kilometers per hour, or 340.29 meters per second.Full Answer >
Because sound is a mechanical wave initiated by an object's vibration, it is propagated by subsequent molecular collisions. Once the colliding air particles hit the eardrum, several internal structures vibrate. These vibrations are then interpreted by the brain as sound.Full Answer >
Sound travels much more slowly than light. The speed of light is colloquially known as the cosmic speed limit as physical constraints prevent objects of macroscopic scale from traveling faster than light.Full Answer >