Q:

Why does a whip crack?

A:

Quick Answer

The crack of a whip is caused by a loop traveling along the whip itself. This loop gains speed until it reaches the speed of sound, and this creates a sonic boom.

Know More
Why does a whip crack?
Credit: davidd CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

It was previously thought that the crack sound results from the tip of the whip traveling fast enough to break the sound barrier and creating a sonic boom. However, new findings detailed in Scientific American magazine suggest otherwise. The article notes that even though some parts of the whip may travel at even greater speeds, it is the loop traveling down the whip that generates the sonic boom.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What makes waves?

    A:

    Waves on the surface of the ocean and lakes are caused by the wind transferring its energy to water. Tsunamis are different from surface waves because they are caused by landslides, volcanic eruptions or underwater earthquakes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the Coulomb barrier?

    A:

    The Coulomb barrier is caused by the energy produced when there is an electrostatic interaction. Such a barrier must be surmounted to enable two nuclei that are to undergo a nuclear reaction to have close contact.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do atomic bombs work?

    A:

    Atomic explosions rely on the same principle that generates nuclear energy, which is that the potential energy of matter is equal to its mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light. In the case of most nuclear weapons, this involves the splitting of a uranium atom, which unleashes a massive explosion of energy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is egg drop material?

    A:

    Egg drop materials are components used to protect eggs in egg drop challenges, a project in high school science and engineering classes. Some preferred materials include bubble wrap, cotton, socks, newspaper and Styrofoam.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore