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Travelling Sound

In this worksheet, students will explore how sound travels, and the speed at which it travels.

'Travelling Sound' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Physics: Waves

Curriculum subtopic:  Sound Waves

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Sound energy travels by vibrations, so it needs something to travel through. This can be a solid, a liquid or a gas. Sound cannot travel through a vacuum. A vacuum is a space where there are no particles, like the outer space further from the earth's atmosphere.

It is easier for sound to travel through solids (like walls, doors and floors) because the particles in solids are densely packed together, so the vibrations can be passed along very quickly. However, sound also travels through liquids, like sea water. Dolphins and whales communicate by making high pitched sounds (ultrasound) in the water. It can be more difficult, but sound can still travel through gases; that's why we can hear each other when we talk. 

Bats use echoes in a technique called sonar to avoid obstacles and catch their food. They need sonar, because they hunt at night, so they cannot see very well. Here is how sonar works: An echo is a reflected sound, i.e. a sound that met an obstacle, could not travel through it and bounced back. Bats send out high-pitched squeaks, the echoes of which tell the bat if something is in the way.

Ultrasound is also used in medicine. It works like sonar, but the reflected ultrasound waves are used to create an image. It is used to check the progress of unborn babies and screen for tumours or check various organs in the body. Ultrasound is also used to treat deep tissue injuries by stimulating blood circulation. It can reduce muscle pain and aid the healing process.

Other applications of ultrasound are ultrasonic cleaning, where ultrasound waves in a liquid create a scrubbing brush action with the liquid.

The speed of sound in air is 330 metres per second (m/s). Light can travel a million times faster and it can also travel through a vacuum. The speed of sound in air depends on the temperature. It is faster in warm air than in cool air, and also travels in a different speed in different materials. In pure water at 0 degrees Celsius, the speed of sound is 1400 m/s, whereas at 30 degrees, the speed is a bit more than 1500 m/s. The speed of sound in steel is 6000 m/s. 

In the Second World War, the aircraft that were built to fly faster began to shake rapidly when they flew close to the speed of sound. It was thought that it was not possible to 'break' the sound barrier, but scientists managed to overcome this problem by designing more streamlined aeroplanes.

What does sound travel by?

bouncing

vibration

floating

Match the state of matter with its particle arrangement. Hover your cursor over the box if you can't read the entire sentence.

Column A

Column B

solid
particles less closely spaced
liquid
particles densely packed together
gas
particles spread out away from each other

How does a sound wave pass through a material?

one vibrating particle gets away and we can hear it

one vibrating particle loses the sound energy

one vibrating particle touches another

In what state of matter can sound travel faster in?

solid

liquid

gas

What is a vacuum?

a vacuum cleaner

a space where no particles are present

the sea water

What is the speed of sound in air in m/s? Just write the number.

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Sound travels faster than light.

true

false

What does the speed of sound in air depend on?

whether it is day or night

the temperature

the altitude

Select two statements which are true about the sound barrier.

It was used because, when planes flew close to the speed of sound, they started shaking rapidly.

When a plane flies close to the sound barrier, it makes no sound.

For a while after the Second World War, it was thought that the sound barrier cannot be broken.

The sound barrier has never been broken.

 

The picture shows a streamlined plane. Select two of the boxes that describe features that make it streamlined.

it is pointed

it is grey

it is heavy

it has swept back wings

  • Question 1

What does sound travel by?

CORRECT ANSWER
vibration
EDDIE SAYS
Sound energy travels as a wave by vibrations.
  • Question 2

Match the state of matter with its particle arrangement. Hover your cursor over the box if you can't read the entire sentence.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

solid
particles densely packed together
liquid
particles less closely spaced
gas
particles spread out away from ea...
EDDIE SAYS
In solids particles are packed together, whereas they are less close to each other in liquids and spread out in gases.
  • Question 3

How does a sound wave pass through a material?

CORRECT ANSWER
one vibrating particle touches another
EDDIE SAYS
Sound makes particles vibrate and the vibration is passed on when the particles touch each other.
  • Question 4

In what state of matter can sound travel faster in?

CORRECT ANSWER
solid
EDDIE SAYS
Sound can travel faster in solids, because their particles are densely packed together.
  • Question 5

What is a vacuum?

CORRECT ANSWER
a space where no particles are present
EDDIE SAYS
There are no particles (not even air) in a vacuum.
  • Question 6

What is the speed of sound in air in m/s? Just write the number.

CORRECT ANSWER
330
EDDIE SAYS
The speed of sound in air is 330 metres per second (m/s).
  • Question 7

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Sound travels faster than light.

CORRECT ANSWER
false
EDDIE SAYS
It is false - light travels faster than sound.
  • Question 8

What does the speed of sound in air depend on?

CORRECT ANSWER
the temperature
EDDIE SAYS
The speed of sound in air depends on the temperature.
  • Question 9

Select two statements which are true about the sound barrier.

CORRECT ANSWER
It was used because, when planes flew close to the speed of sound, they started shaking rapidly.
For a while after the Second World War, it was thought that the sound barrier cannot be broken.
EDDIE SAYS
When planes flew close to the sound barrier in the Second World War, they started shaking rapidly. For a while, it was thought that it was not possible to fly faster than sound.
  • Question 10

 

The picture shows a streamlined plane. Select two of the boxes that describe features that make it streamlined.

CORRECT ANSWER
it is pointed
it has swept back wings
EDDIE SAYS
Streamlined aeroplanes are pointed and have swept back wings.
---- OR ----

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