Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 117: Sonic…BOOOOOOOM

Well, well, well…we’re about to wrap up this section on waves. But before we do let’s take a peak at one of the spectacular things sound waves can do, sonic booms. We can use the equations we learned about previously to show why this happens. Think about an airplane moving …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 112: Sea Shell Resonance

I know last week I said that we’d look at how standing sound waves applied to musical instruments, but as I was preparing I realized that it doesn’t really illuminate anything, so I’m moving on resonance and sound. Sound good to you? Great. Remember that a normal mode is when …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 111: The Legend of Kundt’s Tube

So far in our discussion of waves, we’ve learned about nodes, antinodes, and standing waves. However, we’ve really only seen what these looks like with respect to transverse waves on a string. But sound waves are longitudinal waves. How do these concepts apply? As it turns out, much the same …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 110: Ring My Decibel

OK, friends. Let’s talk about wave intensity. Wave intensity (denoted with an I) is the average rate of time energy is transported per unit area across a surface that is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. So, if we’re talking about a transverse wave on a string, the wave might …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 109: Speed of Sound Part 2

Last week we started discussing the speed of sound and how that speed changes depending on the medium. This week we’ll finish up that topic with a discussion of how fast sound moves in a solid and a gas. First, let’s tackle the speed of sound through a solid rod …

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PhysicsScience

The Physics Philes, lesson 108: The Speed of Sound

Last week we talked a bit about how our ears work and how they perceive sound. If we’re having a conversation, the sound seems to travel from my mouth to your ears in an instant. But what do you hear in a thunder storm? We know that thunder is the …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 107: The Subjective Side of Physics

We’ve been riding waves for a while now, and last week we dove head-long into sound waves. Sound is particularly interesting, I think, because it’s really easy to illustrate how physics informs how our bodies react to external stimuli. What you hear when you hear a sound is directly related …

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Physics

The Physics Philes, lesson 106: The Sound of Physics

We’ve just spent basically forever getting our hands dirty with mechanical waves. Now it’s time to get our hands even dirtier with a specific type of mechanical wave: the sound wave. Sound waves are something most of us are familiar with. The general definition of sound is actually quite simple. …

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