Q:

What speed breaks the sound barrier?

A:

Quick Answer

Breaking the sound barrier requires exceeding the speed of sound, which is approximately 761 miles per hour at seal level when the air temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature decreases, the speed of sound also decreases.

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What speed breaks the sound barrier?
Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

When bullets are fired from a machine gun, they travel at a speed greater than the speed of sound. The shape of high-velocity bullets played a role in the design of the Bell X-1, the first airplane to successfully fly at a supersonic speed. When a plane accelerates through the speed of sound, a loud sonic boom occurs that can be heard from the ground.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the speed of sound in fps?

    A:

    The speed of sound, known as Mach 1, varies depending on the medium through which a sound wave propagates. In dry, sea level air that is around 25 degrees Celsius, Mach 1 is equal to 340.29 meters per second, or 1,122.96 feet per second.

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  • Q:

    What is the speed of sound in air?

    A:

    The speed of sound in air varies with the temperature of the air. At 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the speed of sound is 761.2 mph, while an air temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit increases the speed of sound to 767 mph.

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  • Q:

    How does temperature affect the speed of sound?

    A:

    Temperature affects the speed of sound by changing the density of the medium in which a sound wave travels. In most cases, when the temperature of a medium increases so does the speed of sound through that medium.

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  • Q:

    What machines travel faster than the speed of sound?

    A:

    Many jet air crafts are capable of routinely breaking the sound barrier, as well as a handful of land vehicles, such as the Thrust Super Sonic Car. Almost all military combat planes are capable of supersonic flight, though supersonic passenger jets are less common. While it is also possible to break the sound barrier in a land vehicle, this has only been achieved a few times under closed conditions.

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