MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Explosions

Area: Physics
Posted By: Ronald Fisch, Physics, Washington University
Date: Wed Jan 22 15:25:52 1997
Message ID: 853878416.Ph

The leading edge of a typical explosion is a shock wave,
which travels at the speed of sound.  The speed of sound in air is
about 350 meters per second, and the speed of sound in water is about
1500 meters per second.  In a vacuum there would be no shock wave of
this type.  However, we can't usually see the shock wave, we can only
hear it.

The dust or shrapnel or whatever coming out of the explosion may be
traveling more slowly than the shock wave.  The initial speed of the
fragments depends very much on how the explosion was made.  Perhaps
this explains what you have seen in the movies.  Or perhaps what you
saw in the movies wasn't realistic.

Current Queue | Current Queue for Physics | Physics archives

Return to the MadSci Network

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network
© 1997, Washington University Medical School