Physics and the Speed of Sound

Physics and the Speed of Sound

Length: 699 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


The Speed of "Sound": is actually the speed of transmission of a small disturbance through a medium. The speed of sound (a) is equal to the square root of the ratio of specific heats (g) times the gas constant (R) times the absolute temperature (T).

a = sqrt [g * R * T]

Sonic Boom

Sound generated by airflow has been around and reasearched for a long time. The increased use of fluid machines and engines has led to an increasing level of noise generation, and hence to an increasing interest in this area of research.

A sonic boom is a loud noise caused by an aircraft travelling faster than the speed of sound which is mach one.. The sound propagates along the figure which is called the mach cone. The boom is due to a combination of volume and lift. While the boom due to volume can be virtually eliminated (Busemann, 1935), the boom due to lift can only be minimized.

The minimum sonic boom generally does not correspond to the best aircraft. There is among others: sonic boom minimization at given drag; minimization at given volume, etc. (Seebass, 1998). Because the shock energy is nearly conserved as the shock radiates, its strength decays only slightly with the distance from the aircraft. Minimization is not straightforward, because it is constrained by structural, aerodynamic and design parameters, and not least by the variation of the thermo-dynamic properties of the atmosphere.



The Speed of Sound, source: Air & Space/Smithsonian.

The speed of sound varies with temperature. At sea level Mach 1 is around 742 mph. It decreases with altitude until it reaches about 661 mph at 36,000 feet, then remains at that speed in a band of steady temperature up to 60,000 feet. Because of the variation, it is possible for an airplane flying supersonic at high altitude to be slower than a subsonic flight at sea level.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Physics and the Speed of Sound." 123HelpMe.com. 06 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=153308>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

physics lab speed of sound in air Essay

- Physics Waves Lab SL Introduction: This lab will investigate the properties of mechanical waves such as a longitudinal wave, focusing on the question: Does a change in the frequency of a wave result in a significant and convincing change in the speed of the wave. Hypothesis: Changing the frequency of the wave will not result in a change in speed because the wavelength will change proportionally as in theory. Student Designed Investigation Procedure/ Planning Procedure: 1. Three students would get into a group....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
602 words (1.7 pages)

Research Experiment to Determine the Speed of Sound Essay

- Abstract/Introduction: Sound is the sensation that our brain interprets when vibrations carried to our ears stimulate the auditory nerves. It is produced by the compression and rarefaction of matter. The speed of sound depends on the properties of the medium such as bulk modulus, density and the temperature though which it travels. It does not depend on the source of the sound. Sound travels faster in air which is less dense and in air with a higher temperature. Hence, more density and heat = faster speed of sound....   [tags: physics, Physics Experiment]

Research Papers
1972 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on Physics of the Turntable

- Have you ever wondered how a record player works. Probably not. After all, who still listens to records. Surprisingly enough, turntables are making a come back. With the recent surge of interest in hip hop music, popular attention has been turned towards the turntable, used by DJs to provide beats, loops and scratching for virtually all of today's hip hop groups. The inner workings of the turntable may seem complex at first but after reading this paper it should become clear that, like all things, the record player works on basic principals of physics....   [tags: physics sound music]

Free Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

Physics of Music Essay example

- "He who understands nothing but chemistry does not truly understand chemistry either" Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799) Music is not purely a form of art. There is a great deal of science that goes behind the production of beautiful musical sounds. In order to understand how music is possible, one must have an understanding of physics. Physics allows us to create musical instruments with different tone qualities and the ability to be played in a certain way to produce a specific pitch or note....   [tags: physics music sound]

Research Papers
866 words (2.5 pages)

Sound Waves Essay

- What is a sound wave. A sound wave is produced by a mechanical vibration, such as a tuning fork. The vibrating object causes the surrounding medium, such as air, to vibrate as well.The wave travels through the medium to a detector, like your ear, and it is heard.As with any type of wave, a sound wave is also described by it's wavelength, amplitude, period, and frequency. WAVELENGTH is the distance from one point on the wave, to the next identical point, or the length of one part of the wave. AMPLITUDE is the distance from the midpoint to the place of maximum displacement....   [tags: physics acoustics sound]

Research Papers
1623 words (4.6 pages)

Physics of the Violin Essay

- "String instruments have been played for more than a thousand years. Performance on string instruments has reached a level today that cannot be improved upon, and the quality of instruments built nearly three centuries ago is maintained in the best instrument made today" (Allen, 1). "The violin is a wooden resonance box that amplifies the soundwaves from the vibrations of the strings stretched across it" (Mandy). The most material for the construct the violin is wood; maple used for the back, ribs, and neck) and spruce for the top....   [tags: physics music musical instrument violin]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Essay The Physics of Automobile Accidents

- The Physics of Automobile Accidents Automobile accidents happen all around us. We see cars in the middle of the road after just rear ending each other. We see cars driving around town with big dents in them. Do you ever stop to wonder how car accidents happen. Physics; that’s how they happen. There are several aspects of physics that apply to automobile accidents. An aspect of physics that is applicable to automobile accidents is kinetic energy. Kinetic energy can be defined as the energy of motion....   [tags: Physics Essays]

Research Papers
590 words (1.7 pages)

Physics of Boating Essay

- The first thing you should know is the physics behind a boat, seeing how you can't have a boating adventure without one. To keep it simple, let's check out the main thing you should know about a boat: Buoyancy. Buoyancy, by definition, is the upward force exerted by a liquid on any immersed object. If the force of the liquid on the object is greater than that of the object on the liquid then the object will float. In other words buoyancy is dependent upon the density of the liquid and the volume of the object submerged....   [tags: physics boat boating]

Research Papers
1131 words (3.2 pages)

Physics of Billiards Essay

- The Physics of Billiards Newton's Laws First Law: An object at rest stays at rest. If it is moving, the object will continue to move with the same velocity. Second Law: The net force on an object is equal to the product of the objects mass and its acceleration. (F = ma) Once the cue ball begins to roll there are no net external forces acting in the two-ball system; therefore the a must be = 0. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. If acceleration is 0 there is no change in velocity. When the two balls collide the only forces acting are internal and they do not affect the net force....   [tags: physics pool billiards]

Free Essays
392 words (1.1 pages)

Essay on Physics of Cycling

- Almost the entire spot of cycling is based on physics. Some aspects are obvious, like torque and other basic forces, although others do not come to mind as easily. Things like aerodynamics are playing an increasingly larger role in the sport, along with other things like damped harmonic motion (think mountain bike suspension), and efficiency. A lot of the detailed things would be beyond this paper, but the basics, which are the most import parts, will be talked about. Torque is what makes the wheels on the bike go round....   [tags: physics sport sports cycle bicycle]

Free Essays
1191 words (3.4 pages)

Related Searches

The transonic band extends from around Mach .8—when the first supersonic shock waves form on the wing—to Mach 1.2, when the entire wing has gone supersonic.

A sound wave is a disturbance of pressure which travels through a medium, such as air, water, and earth, by means of particle interaction. As one particle becomes disturbed, it exerts a force on the next adjacent particle, thus disturbing that particle from rest and transporting the energy through the medium. Like any wave, the speed of a sound wave refers to how fast the disturbance is passed from particle to particle.

The speed of sound (a) is equal to the square root of the ratio of specific heats (g) times the gas constant (R) times the absolute temperature (T).

a = sqrt [g * R * T]

Since the speed of a wave is defined as the distance which a point on a wave travels per unit of time, it is often expressed in units of meters/second. In equation form, this is speed(s)=distance(d)/time(t). Distance is usually measured in Meters, and time is measured in seconds, thus giveing us the equation Speed=(meters)/(seconds)

The Doppler effect is a phenomenon observed whenever the source of waves is moving with respect to an observer such as a car passing by a person of a plane flying overhead. The Doppler effect can be described as the effect produced by a moving source of waves where there is an apparent upward shift in the frequency or ammount of waves, for the observer and the source are approaching and an apparent downward shift in frequency when the observer and the source is receding.


The Doppler effect can be observed to occur with all types of waves. We are most familiar with the Doppler effect because of our experiences with sound waves. Such experiences may have been as you stand on the side of the highway and a police car with it's sirens blazing passes by and listening to the siren as it approaches and as it passes and travels away.

Capt. Charles "Chuck" Yeager, USAF, became the first pilot to fly faster than sound on October 14, 1947. The plane was the Bell XS-1 #1. It reached a speed of Mach 1.06, (700 mph), at an altitude of 43,000 feet, over the Mojave Desert near Muroc Dry Lake, California.

Return to 123HelpMe.com