The Sound Wave

It is a fact that without soundwaves, people will not be able to hear their surroundings and the world will simply become muted. Soundwaves are a gift that allow people to hear and they work in many interesting ways.

To begin, sound is produced from longitudinal waves pulsing similarly like a slinky. Longitudinal waves are mechanical waves that require a medium to travel through.

This means that for sound to be able to travel, it will require the help of air, water, and even steel. It also requires that the medium has any series of interconnected and interacting particles such as solid, liquid, and gas.

Soundwaves are technically a disturbance because they vibrate and travel by disturbing the next particles that follow along their path. The disturbance by which sound creates looks very similar to the ripple effect where an object is dropped into a body of still water.

The Sound Wave

As the wave travels across interconnected and interacting particles, it makes its way to human eardrums that work to funnel sound vibrations through different parts of the ear from canals, membranes, and bones. This is where soundwaves are turned into audible noise.

As humans are able to hear a variety of sounds on a continuous basis, some sounds are loud, and some are soft. Some are shrill while some are pleasant to the ears.

What makes these sounds different from each other is pitch, which is a term used to describe how high or low sound is. Without soundwaves, the world will appear just like space, which is a silent vacuum.

Interesting Facts About Soundwaves 

  • Soundwaves move in a medium where they produce a series of Compressions and Rarefactions. Compressions are the regions where the particles are crowded together, while Rarefactions are the regions where particles are spread apart.
  • In a soundwave, the distance between 2 compressions or 2 rarefactions is known as a wavelength.
  • Soundwaves produces wavelengths that are represented by the Lambda symbol (λ).
  • All sounds in the world can be represented by waves.
  • Frequency is characteristic of soundwaves that determines how many times a sound occurs. This means that if someone beats a drum 10 times in a minute, the frequency is 10 beats per minute.
  • The faster the vibration of a source producing the soundwave, the higher is the frequency and pitch corresponding to that sound.
  • Amplitude is also an important characteristic of soundwaves as it determines the loudness or softness of soundwaves.
  • Quality is the 3rdcharacteristic of sound that refers to the unique characteristics of each sound that distinguishes it from other sounds. Some sounds may have the same pitch and loudness yet because of their unique characteristics, humans will be able to differentiate the sounds from each other.
  • Soundwaves are unable to pass through a vacuum such as space.
  • Soundwaves travel rapidly when particles are closer together such as in water.

What is the symbol for which soundwaves are measured? 

Soundwaves are measured with the Hz, which stands for Hertz.

How do scientists study soundwaves?

Scientists study soundwaves by visualizing them on a machine called Cathode-Ray Oscilloscope that works to display soundwaves as transverse waves on a screen. This conversion makes it easier for scientists to determine soundwave amplitude and frequency.

Why are soundwaves unable to travel through space?

Soundwaves cannot travel through space because it is a vacuum where there are no particles to carry sound vibrations.

How do echoes occur in soundwaves?

Soundwaves have the ability to reflect off of any surface that does not absorb the waves. When sound reflects off of a surface, it produces an echo.