We do not need a science book to know what sound energy is. A lot of sounds reach our ears every moment, and our brains register them.
However, to know the vivid application of this energy, you will need to make a note of certain essential points.
So, do you want to know about this energy and why it is so important?
Things You Must Know About Sound Energy
Knowing about sound energy starts from learning its definition, usage, and applications. So, let’s have a brief overview.
What Is Sound Energy?
The definition of sound energy says that when vibrations move through certain physical mediums or barriers, sound energy is formed. Physical media in different forms like gas, solid, and liquid are essential for the growth of sound vibrations.
We use decibels to measure sound energy.
What Is The Use Of Sound Energy?
Different types of sound energy coming from various sources have different uses. We all know that the main function of sound energy is hearing or making things audible.
However, there are various applications of sound energy in our everyday life.
- Sound energy is used widely in the medical field. Doctors use ultrasound to detect tumor cells and other physical ailments.
- Further, the same ultrasound energy is used by doctors to check the condition and position of the fetus.
- Infrasonic sound can make predictions about natural calamities like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
- SONAR, or sound navigation and ranging, is used in ocean mapping.
Sound also has some therapeutic benefits. Sounds of certain frequencies can alleviate stress and calm one’s mind.
Sound energy is also a powerful mode of communication in the animal kingdom. Did you know that bats use sound to correspond with themselves and figure out any perils in their way?
What Is The Speed Of Sound?
The speed of a particular sound wave will depend on many factors. The speed of one sound energy will differ from one based on the criteria like:
- Frequency of the wave
- Air temperature
- The physical medium or the material through which the sound wave is passing
Let us think of a scenario. If the temperature is around 59-60 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level, sound can move at a speed of about 760 kilometers per hour. If the air temperature is high, sound will always make a faster movement.
Did You Know?
Have you heard of the Bell X-1 research plane powered by a rocket? After being hauled up and released into the high atmosphere, it managed to break the local sound barrier at the speed of 662 miles per hour. The incident took place on 14th October 1947.
Bell X-1 was the first aircraft to be able to break the supersonic barrier and achieve a supersonic speed.
If an aircraft breaks the sound barrier and moves at a higher speed, it creates shock waves. As a result, you get to hear a jolting sound.
How Do You Hear Sound Waves?
Are you aware of the mechanics of hearing? It’s easy to understand. It’s a long process, from the sound waves making a movement in your ear canal to the auditory nerves sending signals to the brain, and the brain registers it as a sound.
- Sound waves travel through your eardrum.
- Next, with various sound vibrations, your eardrum will vibrate.
- Now, the vibrations will travel through the cochlea and ossicles.
- There is fluid inside the cochlea, and it moves like ocean waves when sound passes through it.
- When the fluid inside the cochlea moves, the hair cells create neural signals, and the auditory nerves receive those signals.
- There are hair cells on both sides of the cochlea. The hair cells on one side of the cochlea transfer a high-pitched sound, and the hair cells on the other side transfer a low-pitched sound.
- Finally, the auditory nerves take the sound signal to the brain. The brain understands that as a meaningful sound, and then we can “hear” something.
Why Are Sound Waves Called Mechanical Waves?
Have you heard anyone calling sound waves and mechanical waves? It’s because sound needs a physical medium to reach out to us or grow.
The medium can be in a solid, gas, or liquid form. Now, when sound passes through the “rarefactions and compressions per unit of time,” define the frequency of a sound wave.
To put it simply, for a sound wave to grow, you will need a physical medium. Further, when a mechanical wave of vibrations passes through a medium and reaches out to us, we can identify it as sound energy.
Is Sound Energy Potential Or Kinetic Energy?
Sound energy can be potential or kinetic based on the state it is in. For further clarification, the potential energy of an object comes from its condition and presence with respect to the gravitational force.
However, potential energy becomes kinetic energy when a person or object makes a movement.
So, when a musical instrument is not working and at rest, it has potential energy. Similarly, when we play the instrument, there are sound waves, creating kinetic energy.
How Does Sound Energy Produce Electricity?
Some sound vibrations have the potential to transform into electrical energy through electromagnetic induction.
Further, this electromagnetic induction creates a magnetic field to generate electricity.
When an electrical wire or any other conductor and the magnetic field move along with each other, there is an electrical induction.
Now, if the conductor is in a closed circuit and crosses the magnetic field, electricity will flow.
The best thing about using sound energy to produce electricity is that the resource is unlimited. Every living or non-living object on the earth makes a sound.
However, the process or technology of transforming sound energy into electricity is still at a nascent stage. So, it needs more research and evolution.
So, sound energy has a lot of use, including the production of electric energy. Also, like every other form of energy, it can get transformed into another energy, or any other form of energy can get transformed into sound energy.
One of the major uses of sound energy is sound navigation and ranging or SONAR. It is a great method to “chart and ocean” and identify the hazards.