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Name: Kyle
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: CA
Country: N/A
Date: 6/21/2005

How does heat from a fire affect sound waves going through it?


The SPEED at which sound travels through air increases as the temperature increases. At any temperature, air molecules fly around and repeatedly crash into each other. Higher temperature means that the air molecules do this more quickly. Sound waves are an organized vibration of the air molecules. The crashing is what transmits the vibration through the air. At a higher temperature, the vibration is transmitted more quickly.

Fire produces irregular heating of the air around it. This in turn produces an irregular pattern of sound speeds. This can then disrupt the sound waves. Sound passing through fire is not always easy to understand.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College

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