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.Know More
Sound waves are mechanical in nature, making them differ from electromagnetic waves, which are responsible for light. This mechanical nature means that sound only propagates through a medium, whereas light can travel through a vacuum. This is why a bell in an air-tight, vacuum jar cannot make a sound, yet is still easy to see.
Sound waves have a variety of characteristics that relate to the characteristics of the vibrating object. For example, the pitch or frequency of the sound waves is directly related to the vibrating frequency of the object. Similarly, objects whose vibrations have a high amplitude produce sound waves with a high volume.
The sound produced by most objects is composed of innumerable vibrations within the object, each of which produce slightly different pitches. These minor frequencies are called harmonics, and the sum of their vibrations creates the overall tone. Usually tones have a single powerful harmonic, often called the fundamental tone.Learn more in 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 >
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 >
Ultrasonic sound waves are waves of sound beyond the range of perception. These sound waves are used by bats and dolphins for navigation and by medical imaging and in non-destructive testing.Full Answer >