• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Speed of Sound in Air

Extracts from this document...


Andrew Hutchesson – Speed of Sound


        Raw Data:


First Harmonic (mm) [±0.5mm]

Third Harmonic (mm) [±0.5mm]














512 Hertz

                Ambient Temperature

25° Celsius ± 0.5°

Processed Data:

Average uncertainty

First Harmonic

                (Max – Min) / 2 = (140 – 139) / 2 = 0.5

:. Average uncertainty is ±0.5 mm

        Third Harmonic

...read more.


        :. λ = 547.4 ± 3mm

Speed of Wave

vr = λ f

 :. vr = 0.5474 * 512

         :. vr =280.2688 m/s-1  ± 0.003 m/s-1

Literary Value for Speed of Sound

vl = 331 + (25 * 0.6)

        :. vl = 331 + 15

:. vl = 346 m/s-1

Discussion and Analysis

  1. The experimental speed of sound was 280.2688m/s-1 ± 0.003 m/s
  2.  % Difference = (346 - 280.2688) / 346 * 100

  = 65.7312 / 346 * 100

  = 0.18997456647398843930635838150289 * 100

  = 18.997456647398843930635838150289

        :. % Difference ≈ 19.0 %

        :. vr = 280.2688  m/s-1 ± 19%


        The investigation provided some interesting results. The experimental speed of sound was found to be 280.2688 ± 0.003 m/s-1, while the literature value was found to be much higher at 346 m/s-1. Thisis a percentage difference of 19%, or a real difference of 65.7312 m/s-1. However, although a large amount of error was involved, the practical succeeded in its aims of determining an experimental speed of sound, even if it was severely inaccurate.


        The data obtained was very unreliable. This can be shown by the extremely high level of percentage error. In order to determine when the 1

...read more.


        Modifications to improve the practical could be to test several different frequencies to attempt to determine a correlation between frequency and wavelength. Another modification could be to attempt to determine more than just the 1st and 3rd harmonics, in order to gain more accuracy in the wavelength measurement. However, in order to achieve this, a far smaller frequency should be used (as well as lower frequencies), which may prove hard to hear if the practical was conducted with the same apparatus as this one was.

Report        -  -        4/8/2009

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. Experiment to measure the speed of sound in a resonance tube

    L + e = v/4f Where L= length of tube from the top layer of water E= end of correction V= speed of sound in resonance tube F= frequency of tuning fork End correction is the anomal difference between the frequency of a tuning fork and the corresponding sound waves inside of a tube.

  2. Speed of Sound in Air

    Hold the first tuning fork (256 Hz) closely over the top of the tube and strike it with a hard object 5. Slowly adjust the tube along with the tuning fork up and down (making sure that both do not come in contact with each other)

  1. Circular Motion Practical - The graphs show that there is a positive correlation between ...

    Therefore it is true that a positive correlation occurs between the force applied and the speed. But us we can see from the graph, the line thus not go through the origin, suggesting that they are not directly proportional. For test 2, force and mass is kept constant, therefore acceleration would stay the same base on Newton's second law F=ma.

  2. Frequency and the Speed of sSound

    Procedure for Controlling Variables * Perform each trial at the same temperature * Hold tuner in the same constant, non-moving position for each trial * Hold the mic the same distance away from the tube for each trial II.

  1. An investigation into the relationship between distance and sound

    The wall should be solid surface of the wall should have no holes so that there would be no difficulties for the sound level meter to get sound intensity. The materials that would be required for the experiment is 1-elastic band, 1-wall, 1- Speed level meter, 1- thumb tack, 1- block of wood, 1 - table clamp.

  2. Physics Wave revision question

    the distance between any two crests of the wave. C. the distance moved by a wavefront during one oscillation of the source. D. the distance moved by a particle in the wave during one oscillation of the source. (1)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work