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Sound

Science, Grade 6

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Study Guide Sound Science, Grade 6

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SOUND Overview Sound is a type of longitudinal wave. As it travels through its medium, the mediums particles show areas of compression and rarefaction. While the most common medium for sound is air, we know it can travel through many other substances. The diagram below shows a typical sound wave. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What is a sound wave? Sound Wave Interactions Typical of almost all waves, sound waves interact with surfaces and each other in different ways. The first type of interaction is reflection. In this case sound bounces off an object and heads back toward its source. See the diagram below. The second type of interaction is called diffraction. This has to do with sounds ability to go around corners and spread out. We know that the sound produced in one room can be heard in another. This is the result of diffraction. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.
The meeting of sound waves is called interference and this is the third type of interaction. Depending on what happens, this interference can be either constructive or destructive. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What are the three different ways in which sound waves interact? Speeds of Sound Sound, at room temperature, normally travels at a speed of 343m/s. At different temperatures, sound travels at different speeds. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.
The speed of sound is also influenced by the density and elasticity of the medium. Notice in the chart above how different media conduct sound at different speeds. Elasticity has to do with how well the particles of a medium bounce back after energy passes through them. The reason sound travels faster through a solid than it does through water or air is because solids are far more elastic than liquids or vapors. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What factors affect the speed of sound? Loudness of Sound The loudness of sound depends upon its intensity and the distance from the sound’s source. The intensity of sound is determined by how much energy the sound carries. The harder you blow into a trumpet, the louder the sound is coming out. The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels. The chart below shows the decibel levels of different sounds. Sound Pitch Sound’s pitch depends upon its frequency. At certain frequencies certain sounds seem quite high, while at other frequencies sounds can seem quite low. The frequency of sound is measured in units called hertz. Humans normally can hear frequencies between 20 and 20,000 hertz. Sounds above this frequency are referred to as ultrasound. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What is the difference between the loudness of a sound and its pitch? © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.
Doppler Effect When the frequency of sound changes as its source moves in relationship to someone listening, this is called the Doppler Effect. In the diagram below, the sound of the fire truck seems to change as it passes the people on the street. This is the result of the Doppler Effect. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What is the Doppler Effect? The quality of the sound that we hear when we listen to an orchestra depends upon the blending of the fundamental tones and overtones produced by the instruments. The fundamental tone is the sound of lowest frequency and the overtones are sounds of higher frequency. Resonance, or the vibration of objects other than the actual source of a sound, will also affect the sound’s quality by influencing the loudness of the sound. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What factors influence the quality of a sound? Hearing Sound The hearing of sound requires both our ears and our brain. 1. The outer ear shown below captures the sound wave and uses its energy to move small bones in the middle ear. 2. The movement of these bones causes nerve endings in the inner ear to be stimulated. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.
3. The nerves send impulses to the hearing center in the brain. 4. The brain interprets the nerve impulses as particular sounds. Overall, the ear converts the mechanical energy of air to the mechanical energy of bones in the middle ear to electrical energy sent to the brain. LESSON CHECKPOINT: What types of energy are involved in the process of hearing sound? Using Sound Waves Sound is used in many ways. Besides basic communication, it can be used by animals such as bats and dolphins to determine their location and to watch for predators. Ships use sonar to get a better look at the bottom below them. Sonar involves the bouncing of sound off a surface and having it reflect back to the sonar screen as a visual picture. Doctors use a similar method called ultrasound testing. In this type of testing, sounds of ultrahigh frequency are beamed into the body and as they bounce back they create of picture of what they reflected. LESSON CHECKPOINT: Name two ways we use sound today, beyond hearing. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.
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