Spark image

Sound in gases and in space

QUESTIONS:

1. Can sound travel through a balloon filled with hydrogen?
2. Can sound travel directly from one spaceship to another one nearby?

Answers

1. Yes sound can travel through a balloon filled with hydrogen. However you will notice two differences between this case and when sound waves travel through air. First the speed of sound in hydrogen is greater than that in air at the same pressure because the molecules of hydrogen are lighter than those of air. Secondly the balloon will act like a lens and change the direction of the sound. Because of the greater speed of sound in hydrogen the lens effect will be similar to a concave lens in light.

2. No - sound cannot pass directly between twp space shops because sound requires a material (gases, liquids or solids) to travel through and there will be no material between these two spaceships out in space. (Strictly there may be some matter but the density will be so incredibly low that we can ignore it for all practical situations).



 
A VERSION IN WORD IS AVAILABLE ON THE SCHOOLPHYSICS USB
 
 
 
© Keith Gibbs 2020