Speed of Sound in Air

Topics: Speed of sound, Gas, Temperature Pages: 2 (390 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Sadie Broadway
Speed of Sound In Air
We are studying the speed of sound in air currently in our physics class. The speed of sound is the distance traveled by a sound wave through an elastic medium during a period of time. The speed of sound is extremely interesting, as it’s actually the speed of transmission of a small disturbance through a medium. The speed of sound occurs constantly, whenever a sound is heard. It’s everywhere, and in air we are discovering certain factors like altitude and air density. The speeds in ideal gases and air have their own formulas: Thus,

For a gas the K is given by the formula above, and the C is the coefficient of stiffness in solids. Thus the second formula is given. (Gamma) is the adiabatic index, then is the pressure, and the regular P is the density.

In general, the speed of sound is given in the formula:

K is a coefficient of stiffness, the bulk modulus, and P is the density. Then there is a more complex formula for equations of state, if classic mechanics are used, then speed of sound is given in the formula:

The variable is the pressure, and the regular P is the density. Those are just a few other formulas for other substances for the speed of sound. Below I included a chart to help determine and understand the speed of sound on a different level:

The speed of sound is related mostly to the temperature, thus in higher altitudes it’s usually lower because higher altitudes mostly maintain lower temperatures. So in Mammoth I believe that the speed of sound through air would be much slower than places with lower altitudes, especially during the winter. Therefore in our lab I believe that our calculations were technically correct since our altitude is much higher than sea level. Molecules at higher temperatures have more energy and so they vibrate faster. Since the molecules are vibrating faster, then sound travels faster through them. At lower temperatures, for instance at higher altitudes, air...
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