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Breaking the Speed of Sound

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Last updated date: 16th Jul 2024
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What is the Sound?

When something vibrates, it sends waves of energy (vibration) into our ears, which produces sound. The vibrations are carried to the ear by air or another medium (solid, liquid, or gas). The louder the sound, the stronger the vibrations. As you move away from the source, the sounds become fainter. The rate at which an object vibrates to generate sound waves changes the sound.


The speed of the vibrations determines the pitch of a sound (high or low). Different materials produce different pitches; we hear a high-pitched sound when an object vibrates quickly and a low-pitched sound when an object vibrates slowly. Sounds are usually made up of a variety of sound waves.


Sound


Sound


Speed of Sound

The speed of sound is the rate at which a wave or vibration passes through a medium or matter. The type of matter significantly impacts the speed at which sound travels. Sound, for example, travels faster in water than in air. In steel, sound travels even faster. The speed of sound in dry air is 343 meters per second (768 mph). At this speed, sound travels one mile in about five seconds. Sound travels four times faster in water (1,482 meters per second) and approximately thirteen times faster in steel (4,512 meters per second).


Sound


Sound

Sound Barrier

The speed at which sound travels is referred to as the sound barrier. The speed of a sound wave varies with temperature and air density, increasing by about 0.6 m/s for every degree Celsius increase in temperature. At 68° F, the speed of sound is approximately 343 m/s or 767 mph. When an object approaches the speed of sound (Mach 1), air pressure changes dramatically, and pressure waves form around the object.

This pressure will build up until it reaches Mach 1. It will suddenly decrease at this point, resulting in a sound burst. The speed of Mach 1 at which this burst occurs is commonly referred to as the sound barrier. Aircraft wings had to be redesigned for certain aircraft to fly faster than Mach 1.


Breaking the Sound Barrier Speed

Sonic booms are produced by anything moving faster than sound. An aeroplane, a bullet, or even the point of a bullwhip can cause this effect. Supersonic jets, or aircraft that can fly faster than the speed of sound. The loud boom, known as a sonic boom, can be heard when a plane—or anything—flies faster than the speed of sound (i.e., breaks the sound barrier). This is because of a plane breaking the speed of sound.


The speed at which anything breaks the speed of sound depends on conditions like weather and altitude. Aircraft breaking the sound barrier, the airflow around an aircraft reaches the speed of sound at a speed of about 590 to 620 mph, at which point, according to reports, the control surfaces no longer influence the direction of flight.


Sonic Boom


Sonic Boom

Solved Questions

1. What is sound?

A sound is a form of energy produced by vibrations. The vibrations travel to the ear via the air or another medium (solid, liquid, or gas). The louder the sound, the stronger the vibrations. As you move away from the source, the sounds become fainter.


2. Can sound travel in space?

For sound to travel, a medium is required. Since no molecules can be squeezed and expanded in space, sound cannot travel through a vacuum. The vocal cords, located inside Adam's apple, vibrate to create our voice. When you generate a sound, its vibration travels through the air and is perceived as sound by your brain when it enters your ears.


3. What is the sound barrier?

Ans: The speed at which sound travels is referred to as the sound barrier. The speed of a sound wave varies with temperature and air density, increasing by about 0.6 m/s for every degree Celsius increase in temperature.


Learning by Doing

Write True or False.

  1. Sound travels in solid, liquid and gases________

  2. Speed of sound is 343m/s__________


Summary

Sound is a form of energy that can be heard and it travels in waves.When matter vibrates or it moves back and forth very quickly, then the sound is heard. Sound waves can travel through solids, liquids and gases. Sound needs a medium to propagate. Thus, it cannot travel in space and travels with a speed of 343m/s in the air. A Sonic Boom happens when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier.

FAQs on Breaking the Speed of Sound

1. Can sound travel in space?

No sound cannot travel in space as it needs a medium to propagate.

2. In which sound travels the fastest?

Sound travels the fastest in solid.

3. Is it possible to move ahead of the speed of sound?

Yes,it is possible by breaking the speed of sound.