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Old Mar 31st 2014, 12:28 PM   #1
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Lightbulb What is sound?

Can someone explain what sound is? Thanks a lot
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Old Apr 2nd 2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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Sound is vibrations.

Or more precisely it is the perceptual interpretation of the nerve signals generated by motions in the fluid in the inner ear caused by vibrations of the ear drum.
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Old Apr 2nd 2014, 01:09 PM   #3
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Can sound be perceived as a wave in the airmolecules? How come some things make sound and others don't? Thanks
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Old Apr 3rd 2014, 04:39 AM   #4
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Waves of compression and rarefaction in air are what people usually interpret as sound.
There are various forces between the air molecules which combine to give the effect of acting to try to maintain an even separation between all of them.
A vibrating object will push and pull the air molecules in contact with its surface,
As they move, these molecules will push and pull their neighbours, and so on, creating a wave of disturbance.
When this disturbance reaches your ear it pushes and pulls your ear-drum,
which brings us to my initial reply.

Note that sound can travel through most (all?) substances, not just air.
As long as moving the molecules of the substance cause them to push and pull (and thus move) thier neighbours then it will transmit the vibrations that are sound.
Sound-proofing materials act to break up the transmission path and thus make the transmission of the vibrations as inefficient as possible.
Sound cannot travel in a vacuum.

Just an extra random thought for anyone out there who might know:
Can sound travel through super-fluid helium?
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