The Velocity of Sound Waves

Since there are three states of matter, it means there must be three velocities for the three states, because experimentally three states are not the same. The velocity varies from medium to medium.

The velocity of sound in air, for dry air at 00C is approximately 330m/s, but at room temperature, it is about 340m/s, approximately used in calculation as 330m/s.

The velocity of sound in water, i.e, liquid state is about 1,500m/s, approximately about 4 times the velocity of sound in air. For example, steel is in a solid state. The velocity of sound in steel is 5000m/s, i.e, velocity of solids in metal (solids) is approximately about fifteen times as the velocity of sound in air.

Velocity of sound decreases in this order: solids, liquids and air (gases).

Note: The velocity of sound in air increases by 0.6m/s for every 1oC rise in temperature.

Factors that affect the velocity of sound in air (gases) are: (i) temperature (ii) humidity; but these do not depend on pressure, pitch and loudness.

The velocity of sound in air can be measured using the following methods: (i) echo method (ii) resonance tube method (iii) stationary wave method.

Temperature and the Speed of Sound

Temperature is also a condition that affects the speed of sound. Heat, like sound, is a form of kinetic energy. Molecules at higher temperatures have more energy, thus they can vibrate faster. Since the molecules vibrate faster, sound waves can travel more quickly. The speed of sound in room temperature air is 346 meters per second. This is faster than 331 meters per second, which is the speed of sound in air at freezing temperatures.

The formula to find the speed of sound in air is as follows:

v = 331m/s + 0.6m/s/C . T

v is the speed of sound and T is the temperature of the air. One thing to keep in mind is that this formula finds the average speed of sound for any given temperature. The speed of sound is also affected by other factors such as humidity and air pressure.

Pressure on Velocity of Sound

The speed of sound is a term used to describe the speed of sound waves passing through an elastic medium.

The speed varies with the medium employed (for example, sound waves move faster through water than through air), as well as with the properties of the medium, especially temperature.

The term is commonly used to refer specifically to the speed of sound in air…

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