General Properties
Sound Waves and their Properites in Surrounding Media

General Properties

Sound waves are transmitted through the media of gas, liquids, and solids.

A sound wave is produced by a disturbance in the air or other medium.

Normally, a sound wave consists of particles or molecules which vibrate within a narrow boundary. The vibrating particles interact with nearby particles producing various collisions which result in the propagation of the wave.

The averaged vibrational motion of the displaced particles in a sound wave creates a uniform pressure disturbance which results in the vibration of the wave.

The wave vibrations in a normal sound wave in air propagate outward in all directions, forming a succession of concentric spheres.

A normal sound wave in air propagates at the average speed of sound, or 1100 feet per second.

When a sound wave or part of a sound wave encounters an obstacle, it is obstructed by the obstacle, resulting in various alterations of the wave, including sound absorption, reflection, scattering, diffraction, and refraction.

In addition, sound waves which interact with one another may produce sound interference phenomena, including stationary waves, phase shifts, and combination effects.

Sound waves are generated by a variety of sources.

Normally, the properties of the vibrating pressure disturbances in a sound wave are determined by the oscillating motions of the source which creates the disturbance.

The propagational characteristics of a sound wave are determined by the properties of the medium in which the wave is traveling.

The detection of sound waves is determined by the quality, and position in the medium of a receiver.

Sound waves propagate in a variety of media at various orders of magnitude, and range from microfluctuations of the trapped particles in a plasma wave, to large-scale galactic waves in the interstellar medium.