The speed of sound is influenced by several factors, including medium, density and temperature. The rate at which sound waves moves varies widely from one situation to the next and can change dramatically in a short period of time.Continue Reading
Sound waves are considered to be longitudinal waves, which means that particles in the air surrounding these waves move in parallel motion to the waves. An example is the movement of a guitar string, which moves rapidly from side to side when plucked. In a neutral or unmoving state, the guitar string is surrounded by an equal number of air particles on all sides. Like a rock, leaf or insect that penetrates the surface of a placid lake or pond, however, the creation of movement in the guitar string disturbs the surrounding air particles and creates movement. When stimulated by the string, particles may move closer together or farther apart.
The substance through which sound travels is called the medium, and sound moves best through air and water. The density of the medium affects the speed of sound. In the case of air, humidity, density, temperature, and moisture can affect air density and in turn affect the speed of sound. On a muggy day, for example, sound travels slower because humidity makes the air more dense.Learn more about Motion & Mechanics
The speed of sound in dry air is approximately 344 meters per second, or 770 miles per hour. This assumes dry air at sea level with a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.Full Answer >
Sonic booms are rarely heard because they are produced by jets exceeding the speed of sound, and jets are no longer permitted to reach those speeds. Jets flying at certain speeds create sound waves, which are classified as sonic booms when jets exceed the speed of sound. Sonic booms are audible to humans and may be powerful enough to rattle or break windows.Full Answer >
The speed of sound is dependent on the medium through which it is traveling. Under typical conditions, at sea level, sound travels 1,225 kilometers per hour, or 340.29 meters per second.Full Answer >
Although both sound and light are fast by human standards, light is far faster than sound because waves of sound must propagate through a medium, while the speed of light is tied to fundamental universal constants. Light travels at about 300,000 kilometers per second, and the speed of sound is usually around 300 meters per second.Full Answer >