# ch17 - The Big Ideas-Chapter 17(Serway and Beichner Physics...

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The Big Ideas—Chapter 17 (Serway and Beichner, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 5 th Edition) AJM:2/5/01 1 Sections 1 Sound is a longitudinal mechanical wave and, therefore, involves compressions and rarefactions of the medium. Sound waves travel at a speed that is proportional to the square root of the ratio of the compressibility (the Bulk Modulus) to the mass density of the medium. Sound waves exist in all media—gaseous, liquid, and solid. In gases —like air!—the bulk modulus is proportional to the ambient pressure which does not change much with temperature while the density is inversely proportional to the absolute temperature. Therefore, the speed of sound is inversely proportional to the absolute temperature and may be written in terms of its speed at a reference temperature such as 0 ° C. v s = B ρ v s T v s = v s (0 ° C) 1 + T C 273 Section 2 Sound waves can be described in terms of either the longitudinal displacement variations or the pressure variations.

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