Are your kids inquisitive and curious about sounds? Does your child often ask you ‘Mom, why can we hear a sound and not see it? If the question reminds you of your little physicist, you could share some interesting sound wave facts with your kid. So, stop flicking through science magazines, and peruse MomJunction’s collection of some fun sound waves facts for kids, and a quiz at the end to test it all out!
15 Sound Wave Facts For Kids:
1. What Is A Sound Wave?
A sound wave is a mechanical wave which requires a medium or object, such as water or air, to travel through. In fact, a sound is a form of energy resulting due to the vibrations of molecules of matter, and you hear the sound when the sound waves pass through a medium to your ears.
- Like other waves, sound waves too possess amplitude, velocity, frequency, and speed.
- When an object applies a force on some other object, a sound originates. For instance, when you hit a drum, it vibrates, and its vibrations make the air molecules move resulting in a generation of a sound wave.
2. How Do Sound Waves Travel?
The energy present in the sound wave moves outward from the source in a series of pulses from air molecule to air molecule. When the series of sound wave pulses squash they are called compressions and when they spread out it is called rarefaction. Sound waves travel by creating compressions and rarefactions in the air.
3. How Do You Measure The Sound?
- You measure noise in pascals or decibels instead of measuring it in Joules, the traditional energy measurement unit.
- You gauge the frequency of sound in Hertz i.e. vibrations per second.
- A perception by a person having normal hearing sensation helps calculate the intensity of sound energy.
- Also, the measurement of sound is related to its pressure, and sound waves are also famous as pressure waves as they move the particles in the medium through which they pass.
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4. How Different Kinds Of Sounds Occur?
Different kinds of sounds occur because sound waves possess different frequencies. Frequency is the total number of sound waves or vibrations occurring in one second. At times, you describe frequency as a pitch:
- You can hear high pitched sounds and low pitched sounds.
- High pitched sounds result due to sound waves with high frequencies. For instance, the whistling sound.
- Low pitched sounds occur due to sound waves with low frequencies. For example, the sound of bass drums.
- Also, faster are the vibrations, the louder is the sound, and slow ones produce mild sound.
5. What Are Different Kinds Of Sound Waves And Which Can We Hear?
1. Audible Sound Waves:
Audible sound waves possess frequencies between 20 Hz to 20 kHz and these sounds you can hear easily. Humans can hear sound waves between 1000 Hz and 6000 Hz the best.
2. Ultrasound Waves:
Sound waves that possess a frequency greater than 20 kHz are well-known as ultrasound waves, and you cannot hear this type of sound waves. Animals, such as dolphins and bats, use ultrasound waves to locate their prey and communicate.
3. Infrasound Waves:
Sound waves that have a frequency less than 20 Hz are known as infrasound waves, and you cannot hear infrasound waves (1).
6. Why Sound Waves Are Not Suitable For Generating Electricity?
Sound waves tend to generate relatively lower levels of the energy levels than other forms of energy. Since any sound produces low energy levels, you don’t prefer to use it for the generation of electricity as it requires high levels of energy.
7. Does Sound Wave Create A Shock Wave?
Yes, sound can generate a shock wave. Sharp and repetitive sounds, like when you are drumming, when the object vibrates at a high speed can lead to shock waves. A sudden bang or clap creates a shock wave. While, a shock wave resulting due to a clap is benign, a shock wave, which occurs due to an explosion is dangerous as it can kill numerous people.
8. How Fast Do Sound Waves Travel?
- Sound waves travel at the speed of 767 miles per hour i.e. 1230 km per hour.
- Sound waves travel through solid matter, such as iron, stone, and steel, must faster than it moves through the air.
- Also, noise tends to go through a liquid media, such as water, four times faster than it travels through the air (2).
9. Why Do Astronauts Cannot Hear Or Talk In Space?
Sound waves can travel only through solids, gases, and liquids; however, they cannot pass through vacuum. Space doesn’t contain any medium for sound waves to travel, and it’s full of vacuum. So, astronauts cannot hear or talk to each other in the space. They require a radio to listen and communicate.
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10. What Is A Resonance?
A glass of wine vibrates at a normal frequency, and an opera singer can break such a glass with a high musical note. The musical note needs to have a frequency that is equal to the natural frequency of the glass. As, the frequencies of the note and glass are same, the energy transfers onto the glass, which vibrates so intensely that it is shattered. The phenomenon is called resonance. You can use the technique to improve the sound of some kinds of musical instruments.
11. What Is A Deafening Sound?
The noise that a jet aircraft makes during its takeoff tends to be million times louder than the sound you hear regularly. Such thunderous sounds are known as deafening sounds that can cause pain in your ears and damage them significantly.
12. What Is A Doppler Effect?
The change in wavelength and frequency of a wave due to the change in distance between the source of the sound and the receiver of the sound is called Doppler Effect.
- As the source of sound moves towards someone its frequency increases.
- When you step away from the source of sound or vice versa, the frequency of the sound decreases. (3)
13. How Do Stringed Musical Instruments Produce Music?
Various stringed instruments possess a series of stretched strings on them, for instance, violin. When you press down one of the strings with your finger, its length changes, and it vibrates at particular frequencies producing different sounds. If you make a short stroke on a metallic cord, it generates a loud sound while a long stroke tends to create soft music. Also, the thickness of the string matters, and it determines the intensity of the sound.
14. How Can You Record The Sound Waves?
A microphone can change the sound waves into electrical signals that fall and rise in a particular pattern which is identical to the sound wave pattern that you try to record. You can store auditory waves by using analog recording technique, in which you store sound wave pattern as a wavy groove cut into a plastic disc. You can also save the model as a magnetic pattern on a plastic tape.
15. What Is A Digital Sound And Why It’s Better Than Analog Sound?
You can record and transmit sound waves to a digital signal, which holds a particular pattern of the desired sound waves in a digital series that you can store on a digital tape, CD, or a computer system. When you play the signal, the stored digital pattern changes back into sound waves.
Even though analog sound recordings create an exact copy of the desired sound wave pattern, creating several copies of the original records can add extra noises and distort the unique pattern. However, the digital recordings just have a pattern of numbers which you can copy and correct, if need be, again and again without any distortion. So, digital sound recording is always preferable over the analog recording (4).
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15 Sound Wave Fun Facts For Kids:
- The scientific study of sound waves is well-known as acoustics.
- Sound waves bend when they happen to hit an object or any corners of an object.
- Light travels faster than sound so we can see the thunderbolt before we hear its sound.
- Thomas Edison developed the first-ever audio recording and recited ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ in his phonograph in 1877.
- You can hear the different sound because when the sound enters your ear, then the ear also vibrates.
- Flies cannot hear at all; they are deaf.
- Bats produce a series of high-frequency clicks i.e. 12,000 Hz to 150,000 Hz to find their way in the darkness of night, and they have highly sensitive ears that listen to the echoes.
- Dogs have more ears sensitive than a human’s ears so they can hear high-frequency sounds that you cannot hear.
- Male grasshoppers make a loud rasping sound of about 7,000 Hz to 100,000 Hz by scratching their hardened wing cases on the pegs located on their rear legs and listen with their ears that are present on their abdomen.
- Howler monkey hoots at 400 Hz to 6,000 Hz.
- Frog croaks at 50 to 8,000 Hz, and elephant trumpets at 10 Hz to 10,000Hz.
- Whales communicate with one another underwater, and their sound and songs travel up to 800 km quickly in the ocean.
- A baby can cry at 115dB, and his sound is louder than a car horn.
- If a human being can yell for eight years, seven months, and six days at straight, then he can produce sound energy that can heat up a cup of coffee.
- The loudest natural sounds on the earth occur due to the massive volcanic eruptions, such as the volcanic explosion on the island of Krakatoa. (5)
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Did you share these fun sound wave facts with your kids? Which audio fun facts your children found astonishing? Share your experience and knowledge with fellow moms by leaving a comment below.
Now that you know so much about sound waves, let’s put the knowledge to test! Once you’re done, you can sure brag about this to your friends! Play on!
Keys 1.A 2.B 3.A