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Sound Wave Definition

Sound waves are vibrations that transmit sound through matter. For example, speaking vibrates air particles, allowing us to hear.

View Lesson on Wave Properties
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Wave Properties

Fun Facts

  • Sound waves cause salt to vibrate on a speaker.
  • In a vacuum jar with no air particles, sound from a phone cannot be heard.
  • Dolphins use sound waves underwater for echolocation.

Why Do We Need To Know About Sound Wave

Learning about sound waves helps us understand how they affect many parts of our world. For example, in seismology, which is the study of earthquakes, knowing about sound waves can help predict when earthquakes might happen. This can save lives by helping make buildings stronger against earthquakes.

Also, learning about sound waves is useful in many jobs.  It helps make live music sound better with speakers and allows sea animals and underwater equipment to find their way and talk to each other. This shows that knowing about sound waves can help in many different careers including making music, building things, and protecting the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do waves transfer matter?
Waves transfer energy, not matter.
When Zoe and Izzy demonstrated waves using the slinky, which type of wave did they observe?
Zoe and Izzy use the spring to demonstrate both transverse and longitudinal waves. Water waves are transverse waves and sound waves are longitudinal waves.
Why does the salt vibrate on the speaker when the music is turned on?
When the music is turned on sound waves cause the salt to vibrate just like sound waves cause air particles to vibrate.
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