About Sonic Booms and Quiet Aircraft

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In summary, the conversation discusses whether or not future aircraft with electric, noiseless engines would still generate a sonic boom. The conclusion is that they would, as it is caused by the displacement of air rather than engine noise. Examples of shock waves on unpowered projectiles are also provided.
  • #1
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Hello,
I am having this small confusion about sonic boom. Let's talk about aircrafts of the future -say having electric, noiseless engines (suppose). Essentially, these aircrafts practically generate no noise while flying. Now, if these aircrafts can travel faster than sound, will there still be sonic boom - in terms of loud noise and shattered window-glass?
 
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  • #2
Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Yes, it will still generate a sonic boom, since that is caused by the air being displaced by the aircraft as it flies, not engine noise.

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  • #4
ChemAir said:
Shock waves on un-powered projectiles...
Excellent examples! :biggrin:
 
  • #5
Many thanks, berkeman - for a very clear explanation!
 
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1. What is a sonic boom and how is it created?

A sonic boom is a loud, explosive noise caused by an aircraft or object traveling faster than the speed of sound. It is created when an object breaks the sound barrier, causing a shock wave to form. This shock wave produces a sudden change in air pressure, resulting in a loud noise.

2. How loud is a sonic boom?

The loudness of a sonic boom can vary depending on the size and speed of the aircraft or object. Generally, sonic booms can reach levels of up to 200 decibels, which is equivalent to standing next to a jet engine during takeoff. However, the sound is usually brief, lasting only a few seconds.

3. Are there any health risks associated with sonic booms?

No, there are no known health risks associated with sonic booms. However, the loud noise can be startling and may cause discomfort for some people. To avoid any potential negative effects, aircraft are not allowed to produce sonic booms over populated areas.

4. Can sonic booms cause damage to buildings or other structures?

In most cases, sonic booms do not cause any damage to buildings or structures. However, in rare cases, they may cause minor damage to older or weaker structures. This is why aircraft are not allowed to produce sonic booms over populated areas.

5. How are aircraft designed to reduce sonic booms?

Aircraft are designed with specific shapes and features to help reduce the intensity of sonic booms. This includes sharp nose cones, delta wing shapes, and minimizing the number of edges on the aircraft. Additionally, pilots are trained to fly at specific altitudes and speeds to minimize the impact of sonic booms on the ground.

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