How can I describe a time when I have observed the transmission, reflection, or absorption of a sound?  

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will go into all three interactions with a single example because all three interactions can occur one right after another.  Suppose that your brother locks himself in his bedroom, and you have to convince him to open the door.  When you begin talking, your voice sends sound wave energy at the closed door.  When that sound energy hits the hard, flat surface of the door, some of that sound energy is reflected back to you.  Some of the original sound energy from your voice will also attempt to pass through the door into your brother's room, but not all of it will make it through.  The sound energy that doesn't get reflected or make it through the door is absorbed sound energy.  What does make it through the door and into your brother's room is the transmitted sound energy.  I've attached an image to help explain. 

msm0lly | Student

There are many forms of energy. Several examples that are concretely observable by human senses include heat, light, and sound. According to laws of physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed. It merely changes forms as it interacts with or transfers to other matter. Sound, in particular, travels in waves but behaves differently depending on the medium it is passing through.

Sound traveling through a medium in a liquid state that is influenced by movement, such as water in a swimming pool, it can be refracted. Have you ever listened to someone speak while you are under water? Molecules of matter in the liquid phase shift and move, influencing sound wave energy in inconsistent but predictable ways. When a person listens to someone speak through water, a portion of the vocal sound waves emitted are refracted in the form of dispersion. Not all of the sound waves reach your ear drum because they have been absorbed. Their voice will also sound distorted, similar to an echo. Part of the sound waves reach your eardrum after reflecting or bouncing.

Unlike water in a liquid state, solid ice consistently absorbs sound. Water molecules move slowly and are more densely packed. This results in ice being a poor conductor for the transmission of wave forms of energy. Snow is precipitation in the form of ice molecules, which absorb sound. If walking on a snowy day seems quieter than others, it is. This is because some of the sound of your footsteps is absorbed by the snow.

 

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