# Sound travels through clay?

## Homework Statement

Does sound travel through clay?

## Homework Equations

V=√(Young module/Density)

## The Attempt at a Solution

I've read this from a book and it says the clay is a non-elastic material, so sound doesn't travel through. Is that correct???

tiny-tim
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Hi Knightycloud!
I've read this from a book and it says the clay is a non-elastic material, so sound doesn't travel through. Is that correct???

No.

Sound travels through anything.

If you tap one side of a lump of clay, a pulse will travel through it that you can feel on the other side.

I think they mean that clay doesn't resonate.

However, when the frequency of forced vibration on an object matches the object's natural frequency, a large increase in amplitude occurs. This is called resonance …
Inelastic materials like clay do not resonate since they are incapable of vibrations. In order for something to resonate, it needs a force to pull it back to its starting position …​

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Understood. Thank you! :D

haruspex
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Gold Member
2020 Award
Sound travels through anything.

If you tap one side of a lump of clay, a pulse will travel through it that you can feel on the other side.

I think they mean that clay doesn't resonate.

However, when the frequency of forced vibration on an object matches the object's natural frequency, a large increase in amplitude occurs. This is called resonance …
Inelastic materials like clay do not resonate since they are incapable of vibrations. In order for something to resonate, it needs a force to pull it back to its starting position …​
I guess it depends what you mean by sound. Yes, an impulse will travel through clay, but as the passage you quote indicates a rarefaction does not. Consequently a sound wave cannot be said to travel through clay.

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So that means sound doesn't go through non-elastic materials?

And fyi, my question is related to 'Velocity of sound through materials' part of physics.

haruspex
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Gold Member
2020 Award
So that means sound doesn't go through non-elastic materials?
I'm saying it depends what you mean by sound going through something.
If you take a box full of clay and whack it on one side you will feel something on the other side. But you may find that vertical cracks have now opened up in the clay so that further whacks are barely transmitted (unless more powerful). If the clay is sufficiently deep that gravitational pressure closes up the gaps then it will behave more like an elastic material.

1 person
tiny-tim
Homework Helper
So that means sound doesn't go through non-elastic materials?

no

earthquakes go through clay

if you play music on one side of a piece of clay, you can hear it (very badly!) on the other side

(but you wouldn't get those nice resonances and overtones … this is why violins aren't made of clay! )

Haha! ^_^
So I see it depends with the type and the state of a material. Sound can't travel through a vacuum like thing where it can't pulse anymore. Am I right?

tiny-tim