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Shock waves and sound waves

  1. Aug 16, 2012 #1
    If an object of VERY high mass were to hit a hypothetical wall at a high velocity and the wall somehow withstood that, what would happen to you if you were standing on the other side close to the wall but not touching it? Would there be some sort of wave transmitted through it? If so, would this wave that hurts you be the sound wave?

    So would shock wave be some sort of sound wave as well?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2012 #2
    If the wall stays intact - or at least its side closest to you does - then all that can reach you is acoustic and electromagnetic radiation.
  4. Aug 22, 2012 #3
    How would EM radiation be generated? And what is acoustic radiation?
  5. Aug 22, 2012 #4
    Collision -> heat -> EM radiation.

    Acoustic radiation = sound.
  6. Aug 23, 2012 #5
    So the sound wouldn't be able to hurt you? What's the difference between a sound wave and the destructive shock/pressure wave from explosives, 'extreme collisions' (e.g. meteors)?
  7. Aug 23, 2012 #6
    A shock wave will definitely form in the wall. If the wall is thick enough to withstand the collision but not thick enough to attenuate the shock wave, a shock wave will also form in the air behind the wall. Whether it will be able to hurt you depends on the parameters of the collision.
  8. Aug 23, 2012 #7


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    well there may be a little bit of IR radiation (EM radiation)
    but if the wall doesnt crumble you wont see that as its likely to be absorbed by the wall anyway

  9. Aug 24, 2012 #8
    So would the shock wave be the result of the colliding particles in the wall that hit the air? Also, if sound is basically collision of particles transferring a wave as well - what's the difference? Speed?
  10. Aug 24, 2012 #9
    Speed, pressure, density. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_wave
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