<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Dismiss
Skip Navigation
Our Terms of Use (click here to view) and Privacy Policy (click here to view) have changed. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our new Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Sound Waves

Explores waves emanating into a material from a vibrating object.

Atoms Practice
Estimated2 minsto complete
%
Progress
Practice Sound Waves
Practice
Progress
Estimated2 minsto complete
%
Practice Now
Look Ma, No Hands!

Look Ma, No Hands!

Credit: ramos alejandro
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondi/7851879156/sizes
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Making objects levitate, or float unsupported in air, is an old magic trick. But it’s just a trick, right?

Amazing But True!

  • Actually, scientists have been able to levitate small objects for decades simply with sound waves.
  • How can something that you can’t see or feel levitate objects? Sound waves exert pressure on surfaces. The pressure is insignificant unless the sound is really loud. Then it can counter gravity.
  • Simply levitating objects with sound waves is an impressive feat, but it doesn’t have much real-world application. It would be much more useful—and really cool—to use sound waves to move objects around in the air without touching them.
  • Credit: Tess Watson
    Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tessawatson/427116315/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    High pitch sounds create high frequency sound waves [Figure2]

     

  • In 2013, scientists figured out a way to do just that. Watch this video to learn more about moving objects with sound waves, as well as some other cool uses of the waves: http://news.discovery.com/tech/videos/dnews-tech-videos.htm

What do you think?

At the links below, learn more about ways to use sound waves. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Besides making music and hearing, what are some other uses of sound waves?
  2. How can you use sound waves to shatter a glass?
  3. To move objects with sound waves, scientists use standing waves. What are standing waves, and how are they created?
  4. Describe the device scientists created to move objects with sound waves.
  5. What do you think? What are some real-world applications of using sound waves to move objects?

My Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Please to create your own Highlights / notes
Show More

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: ramos alejandro; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mondi/7851879156/sizes; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Tess Watson; Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tessawatson/427116315/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Wave Interference.
Please wait...
Please wait...