17 - Sound Waves

# 17 - Sound Waves - Chapter 17 Sound Waves CHAPTE R OUTLI N...

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Chapter 17 Sound Waves CHAPTER OUTLINE 17. 1 Speed of Sound Waves 17. 2 Periodic Sound Waves 17. 3 Intensity of Periodic Sound Waves 17. 4 The Doppler Effect 17. 5 Digital Sound Recording 17. 6 Motion Picture Sound 512 ± Human ears have evolved to detect sound waves and interpret them as music or speech. Some animals, such as this young bat-eared fox, have ears adapted for the detection of very weak sounds. (Getty Images)

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S ound waves are the most common example of longitudinal waves. They travel through any material medium with a speed that depends on the properties of the medium. As the waves travel through air, the elements of air vibrate to produce changes in density and pressure along the direction of motion of the wave. If the source of the sound waves vibrates sinusoidally, the pressure variations are also sinu- soidal. The mathematical description of sinusoidal sound waves is very similar to that of sinusoidal string waves, which were discussed in the previous chapter. Sound waves are divided into three categories that cover different frequency ranges. (1) Audible waves lie within the range of sensitivity of the human ear. They can be generated in a variety of ways, such as by musical instruments, human voices, or loudspeakers. (2) Infrasonic waves have frequencies below the audible range. Elephants can use infrasonic waves to communicate with each other, even when separated by many kilometers. (3) Ultrasonic waves have frequencies above the audible range. You may have used a “silent” whistle to retrieve your dog. The ultrasonic sound it emits is easily heard by dogs, although humans cannot detect it at all. Ultrasonic waves are also used in medical imaging. We begin this chapter by discussing the speed of sound waves and then wave inten- sity, which is a function of wave amplitude. We then provide an alternative description of the intensity of sound waves that compresses the wide range of intensities to which the ear is sensitive into a smaller range for convenience. We investigate the effects of the motion of sources and/or listeners on the frequency of a sound. Finally, we explore digital reproduction of sound, focusing in particular on sound systems used in modern motion pictures. 17.1 Speed of Sound Waves Let us describe pictorially the motion of a one-dimensional longitudinal pulse moving through a long tube containing a compressible gas (Fig. 17.1). A piston at the left end can be moved to the right to compress the gas and create the pulse. Before the piston is moved, the gas is undisturbed and of uniform density, as represented by the uniformly shaded region in Figure 17.1a. When the piston is suddenly pushed to the right (Fig. 17.1b), the gas just in front of it is compressed (as represented by the more heavily shaded region); the pressure and density in this region are now higher than they were before the piston moved. When the piston comes to rest (Fig. 17.1c), the compressed region of the gas continues to move to the right, corresponding to a longitudinal pulse traveling through the tube with speed v . Note that the piston speed does
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17 - Sound Waves - Chapter 17 Sound Waves CHAPTE R OUTLI N...

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