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Speed of Sound

Sound takes some time to travel from the sound-producing body to our ears. The speed of sound tells us the rate at which sound travels from the sound-producing body to our ears. The speed of sound depends on a number of factors. These are given below:
 

1. The speed of sound depends on the nature of material (or medium) through which it travels. The speed of sound is different in different materials (or different media). For example, the speed of sound in different materials like air, water and iron is different. At room temperature, the speed of sound in air is 344 m/s; the speed of sound in water is about 1500 m/s; and the speed of sound in iron is 5130 m/s. In general, sound travels slowest in gases, faster in liquids and fastest in solids.
 


2. The speed of sound depends on the temperature. For example, the speed of sound in air at a temperature of 0° C is 332 m/s but the speed of sound in air at a temperature of 200C is 344 m/s. In fact, as the temperature of air rises, the speed of sound in it increases. Thus the speed of sound in air will be more on a hot day than on a cold day.
 


3. The speed of sound depends on the humidity of air. For example, the speed of sound is less in dry air but more in humid air. In other words, sound travels slower in dry air but faster in humid air. In fact, as the humidity of air increases, the speed of sound through it also increases.

 





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