sound energy

Understanding sound energy

Sound energy is something that is inevitable as far our hearing organ is functioning. It is the movement of energy through a substance such as air or water in form of waves. sound is produced when a force causes an object or substance to vibrate. Today you’ll get to know the definition, uses, importance, and examples of sound energy.

sound energy

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What is sound energy?

Sound energy can be defined as the physical vibration waves that travel through the air to reach the ears. It signals the brain to interpret the incoming sound(s). The energy is deriving from an external source like singing, drumming, etc. It can also be seen as the movement of vibrations through matter. That is, it is produced when an object vibrates, resulting in noise. The sound vibrations cause waves of pressure that travel through a medium such as air, water metal, or wood.

Sound energy waves comprise two properties known as compression and rarefaction. This is to say, sound energy contracts (compression) and expands (rarefaction) through conductive mediums mentioned above. The rate at which the energy travels is determined by its frequency range also called pitch, and its amplitude, which is the degree of loudness.

Finally, the definition of sound energy in physics is a form of energy that can be heard by living beings. waves that have a frequency of 16 Hz to 20 kHz are audible to humans, although they might differ slightly from individual to individual. Sound waves that have frequencies below 16 Hz are known as infrasonic and those above 20 kHz are called ultrasonic.

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Diagram of sound energy:

diagram of sound energy

Sound is a mechanical wave and as such consists physically in oscillatory elastic compression and in the oscillatory displacement of a fluid. This is why the medium acts as storage for both potential and kinetic energy. Consequently, the sound energy in a volume of interest is defined as the sum of the potential and kinetic energy densities integrated over that volume:{\displaystyle W=W_{\mathrm {potential} }+W_{\mathrm {kinetic} }=\int _{V}{\frac {p^{2}}{2\rho _{0}c^{2}}}\,\mathrm {d} V+\int _{V}{\frac {\rho v^{2}}{2}}\,\mathrm {d} V,}


  • V is the volume of interest;
  • p is the sound pressure;
  • v is the particle velocity;
  • ρ0 is the density of the medium without sound present;
  • ρ is the local density of the medium; and
  • c is the speed of sound.

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Uses of sound energy

The uses of sound energy are something every human has experience; else communication would have been a difficult task for us. Below are the common uses of sound energy everyone must have experienced.

  • Communication
  • Observation
  • Information
  • Entertainment
  • Notification
  • Signal

Examples of Sound Energy

People experience many examples of sound energy in everyday life. Below are some examples of sound energy.

  • Sound from an air conditioning fan
  • an airplane taking off
  • a ballerina dancing in toe shoes
  • popping a balloon
  • time alarm of a microwave
  • a boombox blaring
  • a broom swishing
  • the noise of a buzzing bee
  • champagne glasses clicking in a toast
  • a copier machine sound
  • doorbell chiming
  • dripping faucet
  • an open fire crackling

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  • fireworks popping or exploding
  • a flag flapping in a strong breeze
  • jingle bells
  • meat sizzling on the grill
  • paper crumpling
  • paper tearing
  • pouring milk into Rice Krispies™ cereal
  • radiator pipes clanking
  • radio
  • slinky in motion
  • tea kettle whistling
  • a waterfall
  • waves crashing into a rocky shore
  • a whistle
  • wind chimes clanging

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Heavy equipment such as vehicles and industrial equipment makes noise, so these items are examples of sound energy. The next time you’re in an area where there are a lot of vehicles or businesses, pay attention to the sound energy examples present there.

  • car brakes squealing
  • car or another vehicle crashing
  • a car door closing
  • car or truck engine
  • a motorcycle engine
  • car horn honking
  • the siren on a police car or ambulance
  • tires squealing when racing
  • a sonic boom
  • a train moving on the tracks
  • railroad crossing signal
  • the siren on a fire engine
  • a ship’s foghorn
  • smoothing wood with sandpaper
  • a jackhammer
  • a chainsaw

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Watch the video below to learn more on sound energy:

That is all for this article where I discussed the definition, uses, importance, and examples of sound energy. I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!


One response to “Understanding sound energy”

  1. Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

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