We hear different forms of sounds in our daily life such as the chirping of birds, hammering of the nail, woodwork, drilling work, vessels sound, talking sound, noise, sound from the vehicle, and many more. These sounds have different structures or frames of sound and are distinguishable from each other. Sound from each individual is different, and it all depends on the voice of the person. Sound is the prominent source of energy that we can feel through our ears. Ears are the sensory organs of human beings, which are the receptors for sound. Sound is transmitted from one medium to another and is easily transmitted in the air too. Hence we can hear the noise or sound in no time.
In this article, let us discuss in detail the sound waves and their mode of transmission in various mediums. Let us also learn about the properties and characteristics of sound waves.
Properties and Characteristics of Sound Waves
- Sound waves travel in the form of the wave from one medium to another.
Upon the frequency, sound waves are classified into:
- Infrasonic Waves
- Ultrasonic Waves
- Infrasonic waves cannot be heard by human ears since they have frequencies below 20 Hz. Generally, humans can detect sounds in a frequency range from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
- Ultrasound waves have frequencies higher than 20,00 Hz and hence cannot be heard by humans since they cross the audible range.
- When the objects vibrate, it creates the pressure waves in the surrounding and hence propagates from one medium to another.
- Sound waves are longitudinal waves and have properties like Wavelength, Frequency, Amplitude and timbre.
- Wavelength is the distance between any point on a wave and the equivalent point on the next phase.
- The strength or power of a sound wave is determined by the amplitude of the wave. The distance of the maximum vertical displacement of the wave from its mean position defines the amplitude.
- The number of times the wavelength occurs in one second gives the frequency of the wave. In sound waves, the frequency is also referred to as Pitch. The SI unit of frequency is hertz.
- Timbre is referred to as tone colour or tone quality. It is the difference in the sounds that help to distinguish from each other.
- Sound can undergo Reflection, refraction, and diffraction. Reflection of sound is referred to as echo.
Propagation of Sound Waves
Since sound waves are longitudinal waves, they can easily travel through the air. As we know, sound can travel through mediums like solids, liquids, and gases. Highly rigid solids do not allow sound to propagate through it. Can sound waves travel in a vacuum? Let us know the answer to this question.
Sound requires particles to travel. Sound cannot travel through a vacuum since it is an empty space that has no particles to carry the waves. The vacuum has no atoms or molecules to vibrate, and hence no propagation takes place. Hence we can say that sound can travel through solids, liquids, and gases and cannot travel through a vacuum.