What are the properties of sound waves?

What are the properties of sound waves?

sound waves are mechanical waves so they need a medium for propagation.


The most fundamental properties of sound waves are:-

1. Wavelength

2. Frequency

3. AmplitudeMost of the other properties like speed,intensity etc. can be calculated from the above three quantities.
I have listed some below


  • They are longitudinal in nature - that means the disturbances are parallel to the direction of motion of the wave.
  • The cannot travel through a vacuum. They need a medium to travel through.
  • They travel fastest through solids and slowest through gases.
  • They obey the wave equation v=f lambda and their speed through air at sea level is approximately 340 m//s
  • They can be reflected and obey the law of reflection.
  • They can be refracted, diffracted, undergo superposition (interference), etc.
  • Their frequencies may appear different to observers in relative motion due to the Doppler Effect.

What are the properties of sound waves

Properties of sound waves are: (1) wavelength, (2) amplitude, (3) frequency, (4) time period, and (5) velocity.

What is sound waves

Sound waves are similar to light waves. Both of them originate from a definite source, and can be distributed or scattered using various means. It can only travel through a medium, such as air, glass, or metal.

Sound movement

It moves most quickly through solids, because its molecules are densely packed together. Velocity is over four times faster when sound waves travel through water than it is in air. Sound wave’s velocity moving through air can be further reduced by high wind speeds that dissipate the sound wave’s energy.
Time at which sound waves travel through a medium, it lose energy which explains why we cannot hear people talking far away, but can hear them whispering nearby. Sound waves move through space, they are reflected by mediums, such as walls, pillars, and rocks. Sound reflection is known as an echo.

Types of waves

There are 4 types of waves.

1. Longitudinal sound waves

Type of wave in which the motion of the medium’s particles is parallel to the direction of the energy transport.

2. Mechanical sound waves

Type of wave moves through air by displacing air particles in a chain reaction, one particle is displaced from its equilibrium position, it pushes or pulls on neighboring molecules, causing them to be displaced from their equilibrium. With mechanical vibrations particles continue to displace one another with the disturbance is transported throughout the medium. Vibrations created by a vibrating source with energy association, requires a medium to travel, which makes sound energy a mechanical wave.

3. Pressure sound waves

The are made up of compressions and rarefactions, their regions fluctuate between low and high pressure patterns therefore sound waves are considered to be pressure waves.

4. Transverse waves

Waves move with oscillations that are perpendicular to the direction of the wave. Oscillations are parallel to the direction of the energy transport in sound waves therefore sound waves are not considered as transverse waves. Examples of transverse waves are ocean waves.

Properties of sound waves

1. Wavelength

It indicates the distance that sound wave travels before it repeats itself. It is a longitudinal wave that shows the compressions and rarefactions of the sound wave.

2. Amplitude

It defines the maximum displacement of the particles disturbed by the sound wave as it passes through a medium. Large amplitude indicates a large sound wave.

3. Frequency

Frequency of a sound wave indicates the number of sound waves produced each second. When less sound waves produce than it has low frequency. When large sound waves produce it has high frequency.

4. Time period

Amount of time required to create a complete wave cycle is said to be time period of a sound wave. When sound source vibrated each vibration produces a wave’s worth of sound. Wave cycle begins with a trough and ends at the start of the next trough.

5. Velocity

It tells us about how fast the wave is moving and is expressed as meters per second.

Units of sound

Four different measurement units available for sound. First unit is decibel (dB). Which is a logarithmic ratio of the sound pressure compared to a reference pressure. Second most frequently used unit is the hertz (Hz). It is a measure of sound frequency. Hz and dB are widely used to describe and measure sounds, but phon and sone are also used. Sone is the perceived loudness of a sound and a phon is the unit of loudness for pure tones. Phon refers to subjective loudness, while the sone is the perceived loudness.