Temperature Variation and Sound
How does heat from a fire affect sound waves going
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
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012