What Is the Speed of Sound?

You may have already heard different kinds of sounds. However, do you know what the actual speed of sound is? Let us discuss this in detail below.

What Is Sound?

Noise or vibration that passes through some medium is known as sound. It usually travels by moving the energy from one molecule to the next one and can be heard when it enters an individual’s ear. For instance, when an object starts vibrating, it can pass energy to its surrounding particles, making them vibrate as well. 

What If The Place Has No Medium?

No particles can work as a medium, so the sound cannot move through a vacuum. Sound can only flow through some mediums, like air, water, or solid. So, let us discuss sound waves and also all about the speed of sound.

Things You Should Know About Sound Wave

Sound is a certain type of wave that can travel like a longitudinal wave through liquid and air. However, it can even travel through solid.

The intensity at which any sound wave can propagate can be determined by the characteristics of the medium in which it can travel. Its speed is mainly independent of the characteristics of the wave or the force that can create it.

The speed of sound is mainly defined according to the distance traveled per unit of time by a particular sound wave that is propagating across an elastic medium.

The actual speed of sound in a certain medium is determined by its elasticity and density. As per mechanics, the greater the sound’s speed and elasticity are, the lower the mass.

Factors That May Affect The Speed of Sound

The sound’s speed can be affected by two vital factors, such as:

The Temperature of The Medium

The medium’s temperature and the frequency of the sound waves are completely proportional. Thus, the sound’s speed also increases as the medium’s temperature rises.

The Density of The Medium

As mentioned earlier, sound always needs a medium to travel. The density of that medium is believed to be one of the powerful influences on which the sound’s speed depends a lot. When that medium is thick, it has tightly packed molecules, helping the sound to propagate further. Hence, whenever the density of the medium increases, the sound’s speed also increases.

Speed of Sound in Various Media

Speed of Sound in Gas Media

As gases expand to fill a vacuum, their density is uniform without regard for the gas’s type. However, this isn’t true in the case of liquids and solids.

Speed of sound in Liquid media

The density of a liquid is higher than the density of a gas. Thus, the distances between molecules in liquid media are greater than in solid media but smaller than in gas media. Hence, the sound’s speed in liquid media is intermediate between the speeds of sound in gases and solids.

Speed of sound in solid media

Solid media are much denser than gas and liquid ones. The reason is in solids, the molecules are much closer to each other than in other media. Hence, they can collide very easily, and because of this, the sound’s speed in a solid medium turns out to be greater than in liquid or gas. 

The speed of sound in a solid medium is 6000 m/s, whereas the sound’s speed in a steel medium is 5100m/s.

Thus, this article has taught us many exciting things about sound and its speed. For some extra information, you can visit our website.

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