MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Can sound travel through any medium? How? Why? -xtra specific in comments

Date: Thu Jan 25 17:21:11 2007
Posted By: Michael Maskell, Grad student, Physics, Old Dominion University
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1168924730.Ph

Ok, let's take these one at a time:

1) "Can sound travel like a vector?"  Well, the definition of a vector is
anything with a magnitude and a direction; sound has a speed, and it is
directional, so yes, it can be represented with a vector.

2) "are we able to control that variable and any integer of magnitude as
long as there are of a recoil force?"  I'm not sure what you mean by this
sentence; try rewording it and submitting it again.

3) "So if sound is created by vibration, what creates these vibration?"
Anything that vibrates can cause the vibrations that sound consists of.

4) "How  can we create friction?"  Friction is the force produced by two
surfaces moving against each other.  In the case of sound, the friction
you're probably referring to is the friction between molecules in the
medium.  The amount of friction depends solely on the type of materials, so
we change it by changing the materials in use.

5) "Is it possble for sound to create physical energy from vibrations?" 
Sound actually IS physical energy in the form of vibration.  A sound wave
is a manifestation of energy being carried through a medium.

6) "Can air molecules actually vibrate so quickly it can be
shown as a physical force?"  This force is known as pressure.  The pressure
of any gas (such as air) is defined as the force per unit area it exerts on
a surface.  Gas molecules are always moving, so there's always pressure on
a surface exposed to gas.  A sound wave is a pressure wave; that is, a
series of high and low pressure pulses.  These can be measured by force
sensors on a surface.

And as for the question in your title: "Can sound travel through any
medium? How? Why?"  Yes, sound can travel through any medium.  Its speed
depends on what the medium is.  Certain media are easier for sound to
travel through than others.  Sound travels through any medium by causing
the molecules of the medium to vibrate in the form of a pressure wave (see
answers above).

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