Does sound travel through water? Yes, also the speed of sound underwater exists. But, many people don’t even know that sound travels through water. Water is also a medium like air and other gases. The speed of sound in water was initially unknown, but in 1826 on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Jean-Daniel Colladon who was a physicist, and Charles-Francois Sturm, a mathematician, made the first recorded attempt to determine the speed of sound in water. And from then it was discovered in number form. Let’s learn to calculate the speed of sound underwater.
What Is Speed Of Sound Underwater?
The speed of sound underwater is 1500 meters per sec, which is more than in the air. It is because the mechanical properties of water differ from the air. The speed of sound in water is the distance traveled per unit by a sound wave as it propagates through an elastic medium.
The speed of sound in air is 343 m/s which is less than the speed of sound in seawater which is between 1450 to 1570 m/s. In seawater, the speed of sound increases by about 4.5 m/p because seawater is high in salinity. So, you can say the salinity of the water is directly proportional to the speed of sound in seawater m/s.
While talking about the solid medium, the sound also travels through it. Therefore, the speed of sound in solid is 6000 m/p. Similarly, the speed of sound in metal, consider steel, is 5100 m/s. Now, you can see that the speed of sound in the solid medium is more than it is in the liquid medium.
So, this was all about the already calculated or constant speed of sound underwater mph, solid, or metal. But what if you need to calculate it in a different medium or at a different distance? Therefore, you should know the formula to calculate it.
Calculate Speed Of Sound Underwater
So, to calculate the speed of sound underwater at sea level there is a formula called the speed of sound in seawater formula. Also known as an empirical equation for the speed of sound in seawater and it is provided by Mackenzie. Which is,
c(T, S, z) = a1 + a2T + a3T2 + a4T3 +a5(S-35) + a6z + a7z2 + a8T(S-35) + a9Tz3
- T is the temperature in degrees Celsius
- S is the salinity in parts per thousand
- z is the depth in metres
When you see the speed of sound in water vs air, you find that the speed of sound in water is more than that in air. So, sound travels faster in water than in air. Therefore, the speed of sound faster underwater is as already told which is 1500 m/s.
The above-given formula is used for the seawater, but for normal water you can use another formula which is,
v = λ f
Here, v is the speed of sound
Λ is the wavelength, and
F is the frequency of waves.
For example, How long does it take for a sound wave of 2 kHz and a wavelength of 35 cm to travel a distance of 1.5 km?
So, v = 0.35 x 2000 = 700 m/s
Then, time taken = distance / speed of sound
Time = 1500 / 700 = 2.1 s.
Similarly, you can find the velocity, time, and distance from this single formula. The wavelength is constant and varies according to the waves.
Assemble more facts on different topics like these on Countspeed
What Happens At The Speed Of Sound In Water?
Thus sound waves travel much faster in water than they do in air. In freshwater at room temperature, for example, sound travels about 4.3 times faster than it does in air at the same temperature. Sound traveling through air soon becomes less loud as you get farther from the source.
Is The Speed Of Sound Slower Underwater?
While sound moves at a much faster speed in the water than in air , the distance that sound waves travel is primarily dependent upon ocean temperature and pressure.
Why Is It So Hard To Hear Sounds Underwater?
This is because water is denser than air. Since sound waves travel so much faster underwater than in air, it is much harder for us to detect where they are coming from. Our bodies have something called bone conductivity.
Is Sound 4 Times Faster In Water?
Generally, Sound travels four times faster in water than in air.
Is Sound Faster In Ice Or Water?
For instance, water molecules bound in ice form have a speed of sound more than twice as fast as in liquid water.
Well, now you know the speed of sound in water in m/s or under seawater. From the given formula you can say, the speed of sound depends on the density and the elasticity of the medium through which it travels. In general, sound travels faster in liquid than in gases and quicker in solids than in liquids. It is because, the greater the elasticity and the lower the density, the faster sound travels in a medium.
Sound waves propagate by collisions between the particles, one molecule hitting the next and so forth. As you all know, solid is denser than water, therefore, the speed of sound is more in solid than in water. Now, you have a clear-cut idea about the speed of sound underwater.
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