As the clapper of the bell strikes its sides, it causes them to vibrate, setting up a disturbance in the equilibrium of the air surrounding the bell. This disturbance travels through the air in a wave form that humans know as sound.Continue Reading
Sound travels as a longitudinal wave. Sound energy moves by vibrating molecules. When a bell flexes away, it pulls in on the surrounding particles, creating a drop in pressure to pull more particles. Each molecule passes the vibration to the next between the bell and the hearer's ear. However, if it were to be rung in space, where there is no air, the ringing bell would have no particles to move and thus would make no sound.
According to the National Park Service, the work of Gary Koopmann makes it possible to hear the sound of the Liberty Bell, last sounded in 1846, without causing further cracks in this historic artifact. Koopman and his students at Penn State have recreated the shape of the bell and its sounds using formulas and computer modeling. The Park Service believes the model to be accurate enough that it includes MP3 files of the unbroken and the cracked bell on its website.Learn more about Optics & Waves
Pressure waves in the air cause sound waves to form. However, sound waves can also form in water and in solids. The speed of sound varies significantly depending on the temperature and medium it travels through.Full Answer >
Waves are vibrations that transfer energy through a medium without causing the individual particles of a medium to move significantly from their equilibrium or position of rest. Once a wave has passed, the particles that comprise a medium tend to return to their respective position.Full Answer >
Several characteristics define sound, including frequency, pitch, loudness, wavelength and period. Sound travels in waves and is caused by vibrations. Sound travels fastest through solids, slowest in gases and at an intermediate speed through liquids.Full Answer >
The pitch of a sound is the ear and brain interpreting the frequency of the sound. When there is a high frequency, the ear interprets the sound as a higher pitch, and when the frequency is low, the ear hears a low pitch. Pitch has been standardized and uses "cents" as a unit of measurement.Full Answer >