What are the different Properties of Sound Waves?

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A sound wave is the pattern of disturbance caused by the movement of energy traveling through a medium (such as air, water, or any other liquid or solid matter) as it propagates away from the source of the sound.
1. Sound Energy
Sound travels on a longitudinal wave:
Notice that sound travels in a spiral form like a slingy
2. Imagine what happens when you drop a stone into a
pool of water. Waves ripple out from the spot
where the stone entered the water. The way waves
move across the water is similar to how sound
waves travel through the air.
3. When you speak or shout, your vocal chords vibrate .
These vibrations travel in all directions through the
air as waves. When the waves reach our ears, they
make our eardrums vibrate too, so we can hear the
4. Sound waves travel on a MEDIUM:
Sound travels by pushing the particles of a substance.
The particles push into the particles next to them, and
then return to their original position. And the sound
continues to travel in this form until it reaches your
5. Which state of substance would
sound travel through faster?
6. All right, let’s practice what we’ve learned so
It’s time to let your partner ear it!!
Plus, domino affect
7. Mediums:
• Sound travels through a solid faster, than through
a liquid, which is faster, than through a gas.
– Our ears are custom to hear sound through a
8. In movies and on TV, you'll sometimes see and hear
things exploding in outer space -- alien spacecraft
and things like that.
Is that really possible knowing what we
know about sound?

9. Compressions and Rarefractions:
Compressions: area of sound waves where
molecules are closer together (E)
Rarefraction: area of sound where
molecules are further apart (B)
10. Wavelength:
Wavelength: distance from end of
compression to the end of the next
compression (A)
Rarefaction (decreased air
Stereo density)
Compression (increased air
11. Frequency:
Frequency: the number of waves produced
per second (C)
12. Two other properties that affect sound
Pitch is the rate at which the vibrations
are produced.
The higher the frequency, the higher the
Which picture above would have the lowest pitch? Highest pitch?
14. The more waves per second (or
the higher the frequency), the
higher the pitch!
15. Intensity
Intensity depends on the strength, or
amplitude, of the vibrations producing the
If a piano string is struck forcefully the string swings
back and forth in a wider arc. The stronger
vibration then produces a louder tone since
stronger vibrations compress the molecules of the
air more forcefully and gives them greater energy,
which is interpreted by our ears as a louder sound.
16. So in conclusion:
Sound energy travels on a ___________________ wave. Sound
travels through a ____________. Sound travels better through a
_____________ medium, than a ______________ medium.
A sound wave is made up of two parts; compressions and
rarefractions. The _______________ represent areas where the
molecules are closer together. Where as, a ___________________
is where the molecules are further apart.
The distance from the end of one compression to the beginning of the
next compression is called the ______________________. The
more waves per second the ____________ the frequency. The
greater the frequency the __________ the pitch.
The more force put into the pulse (which starts the sound) the greater
the __________________ of the sound. Therefore, the sound will
be louder.
17. 1. A teacher attaches a slinky to the wall and begins
introducing pulses with different amplitudes. Which of
the two pulses (A or B) below will travel from the hand
to the wall in the least amount of time? Justify your
They reach the wall at the same time
18. 2. The teacher then begins introducing pulses with a
different wavelength. Which of the two pulses (C or D)
will travel from the hand to the wall in the least amount
of time ? Justify your answer.
They reach the wall at the same time.
19. 3. Doubling the frequency of a wave
source doubles the speed of the waves.
The speed of a wave is unaffected by changes in the
frequency. It is affected by the medium!
20. 3. Two waves are traveling through the same container of
nitrogen gas. Wave A has a wavelength of 1.5 m. Wave
B has a wavelength of 4.5 m. The speed of wave B must
be ________ the speed of wave A.
a. one-ninth
b. one-third
c. the same as
d. three times larger than
Answer: C
21. 4. Why do we hear this when a jet flies past
•The closer the jet is to our ears, the closer the
wavelengths. Therefore, we hear a higher pitch when the
jet is closer, and a lower pitch as it moves further away.
Also, the closer the jet the more intensity; therefore it
seems louder to our ears.
22. 5. Label the three pictures below with the following:
a. highest pitch (HP)
b. middle pitch (MP)
c. lowest pitch (LP)