General Science Sound Waves Flash Card Set 618233

Cards 10
Focus Sound Waves
Topics Doppler Effect, Frequency, Speed, Vibration

Study Guide

Doppler Effect

The Doppler effect occurs when the source or listener (or both) of sound waves is moving. If they're moving closer together, the listener perceives the sound with a higher pitch and, when they're moving apart, the listener perceives the sound with a lower pitch.


The rate of vibration of sound is called frequency and is measured in hertz (Hz). One hertz is one repetition per second and sounds with high frequency have a higher pitch than sounds with lower frequency. Humans can hear sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.


The speed of a sound wave will vary with the medium. Sound travels fastest through media that has particles that are very close together, like metal. Thus, it travels faster through water than through air and doesn't travel at all through a vacuum (there are no particles in empty space to vibrate).


A vibrating object produces a sound wave that travels outwardly from the object through a medium (any liquid or solid matter). The vibration disturbs the particles in the surrounding medium, those particles disturb the particules next to them, and so on, as the sound propagates away from the vibration.