What is Sound Energy

When we speak of energy, a lot of things come to mind. The context is actually scoped into things that are more often than not part of our daily lives. Whether or not we know its existence, energy will always be one of the concepts in science that everyone will be dealing with. As defined by most scientists, energy is the capacity to produce work, where work is done when a transfer of energy is made for an object to move at a certain point. Defined as such, energy can be recognized into various forms, which could be mainly classified into kinetic or potential.

Aside from light, mechanical motion and thermal energy, one additional form of evidence that proves the existence of energy is sound energy. While a pendulum proves the existence of energy through its movement, an airplane can prove that there is sound energy when it takes off. The energy formed through sound vibrations that travel through a certain medium is known as the sound energy. Sound is basically produced by the motion or vibration of an object; hence, the immobility of an object will cause no sound. As the object vibrates, the air molecules around it also vibrate. This happens in such a way that each molecule moves at a distance which is close enough to bump other air molecules.

One good example to illustrate sound energy is the ringing of a bell. Once the bell vibrates, it tends to bump air particles near it. These particles bump into the next air molecules and then bump again to the particles next to it. The process continues until the air molecules bump next to a person’s ear. At this moment, the person’s ear is within the range of the sound vibrations. It is only then that sound is being heard and interpreted by the person.

If you picture out a stone being thrown onto water, you will notice that waves are formed. We can relate this phenomenon with sounds. This is when the concept of frequency comes in. When we speak of low frequency notes, this means that the vibrations are slow. On the other hand, sound vibrations that are fast create a high frequency note. Apart from this, we also consider noise as sound. This is when irregular sound waves are repeatedly made.

It is noteworthy that the speed of sound depends on the medium where it travels through. It is said that among the three media, sound travels fastest through solids and slowest through gases. This is due to the fact that solid media have compact particles, which make it easier and quicker to bump with each other, compared to those in liquid and gas. Conversely, gas molecules, which are far from each other, have the lowest tendency of colliding with each other to produce sound vibrations. In water, sound travels quicker than through the air. This is the reason behind the effective and efficient way of feeding and communication over long distances by ocean-dwelling animals. Aside from the medium that sound travels through, temperature also affects the speed of sound.


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