Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does air molecules travel with the same speed as the sound wave?

  1. Jun 27, 2010 #1
    Hi all,

    As sound travels through air, does the air molecules travel with the same speed as well?

    In other words, if sound is travelling in air at 340m/s, does it also then mean that the mean speed of all the affected air molecules is 340m/s?

    I personally do not think so. I guess that the speed of air molecules will be greater than 340 m/s, but i do not know how to explain. Nor am i totally sure. :redface:

    Fellow forummers can help me please?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2010 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, the average speed of the air molecules would have to be equal to the speed of sound, as sound is propagated by air molecules moving in the direction of the sound, hitting each other.
  4. Jun 27, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Average speed of air molecules around 20 C is 500 m/s. The speed of sound is related to the rate of propagation of an impulse wave via collisions.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook