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Sound in a vaccum?

  1. Nov 25, 2005 #1
    Since sound recquires a medium to travel, there should be no sound in a vaccum or empty space?

    If it is true than isn't it a bit unintuitive as I would not hear myself playing an instrument when in a vaccum.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2005 #2


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    Why would that be unintuitive?

    Caveat: if you are playing an instrument, you are physicallly connected to it, so it will transmit it's sound to you directly. It would just sound different than if there were air.
  4. Nov 25, 2005 #3
    You will not simply hear the instrument. For example you will not hear the sound of of a drum if you are simply hitting it. for that you will have to keep your ears on the drum surface. but i don't know who told you this? ask him to specify what he told.
    anyway the basic concept is sound needs a medium to travel. so it an travel through the instrument medium
  5. Nov 25, 2005 #4
    If we are physically connected to the instrument,in what way it will communicate with us? For sound to propagate some medium should be there ,,there should be some thing to carry the waves coming out of the instrument till the reciever, (ear)
    And I think its an imaginary experiment to perform it in vocuum because 1) sound cannt propagate in vacuum
    2)we cannt live there in such low pressures..

    even if u are there to perform u can not listen to it..its not intutive.
  6. Nov 25, 2005 #5
    I was thinking of a situation where I am in a special suit and I was put into a vaccumed room with a loud instrument (in air) unattached to the suit. Assume that I could detect sound in my suit when playing the instrument normally in air.

    Would it be true that I would not detect any sound (that is sound will not travel between the instrument and my ear because there is no medium for it to travel in) no matter how loud the instrument can be in air?
  7. Nov 25, 2005 #6
    I didnt get u..instrument is in air and you r in vacuum with spl suit,,this is waht u meant, if i got u!
    In this case the instrument is in air but detector(ear) is in void, so u shouldnt hear anything..but the mechanical vibrations can reach ur body as ur holding the instrument.
  8. Nov 25, 2005 #7


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    Russ: You may be a mentor, so all the more reason to set a good example. "It's" means "It is"; the neutral possessive pronound is "Its". No apostrophe.
  9. Nov 25, 2005 #8


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    Ooh ! That's a low blow. :frown:
  10. Nov 25, 2005 #9


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    Uhhh oh, krab is going to unleash the monster in russ!!!
  11. Nov 25, 2005 #10


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    and wait a second :P

    To the OP, if you setup a very specialized situation, don't expect things to be very intuitive.
  12. Nov 25, 2005 #11

    Sorry I did not make myself clear enough. The instrument plays loudly in air. But I carry it in the vaccumed room. So after it is in the vaccumed room, there is no air surrounding the instrument.

    An equivalent example would be to put a radio and a detector with some distance apart in a vaccumed room and the radio is turned on to full volume. Will the detector record any sound from this radio in this vaccumed room?

    I guess they are more like thought experiments.
  13. Nov 25, 2005 #12


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    Well, setting aside the dying thing, if you play a guitar, for example, the sound waves will travel through your arms, to your ears.
    Ok....I know that - do I do that a lot? I have a handful of common typos that I make (some "ie" and "ei" words that I get backwards a lot). I, also, tend, to, overuse, comas...
    Despite what you see from me in the politics forum, you've never seen the monster in me. Very few have.
  14. Nov 25, 2005 #13


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    You will hear no sound coming from the instrument and no sound from the radio.

    To intuit requires a previous or familair situation from which to extrapolate. We do not normally interact with vacuum, so there's no intuition.
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