Acoustics is the science of sound as it reacts to air, water and solid materials. Learn about topics from radar to white noise, plus find out why you can hear the ocean in a seashell.

What causes a sonic boom?

When an airplane flies faster than the speed of sound, you hear a large booming sound. But how can something that seems so simple cause such a boom?

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  • Can a sound wave kill you?

    Can a sound wave kill you?

    A sound wave alone probably won't kill you. Crank the volume on a terrible song, though, and you just might annoy everyone to death. See more »

  • Can you really shatter a glass with a high note?

    Can you really shatter a glass with a high note?

    There are so many things in this world that are possible, and shattering glass with sonic force is one of them – but just how probable is it, really? See more »

  • How Acoustic Levitation Works

    How Acoustic Levitation Works

    The idea that something so intangible can lift objects can seem unbelievable, but it's a real phenomenon. Learn how acoustic levitation takes advantage of the properties of sound to cause solids, liquids and heavy gases to float. See more »

  • How LRAD Works

    How LRAD Works

    What makes sound a weapon? Review the basics of sound and discover exactly how the LRAD produces its "beam of sound." We'll also explore LRAD's hailing and warning abilities and other uses for sound. See more »

  • How Radar Works

    How Radar Works

    Radar seems to have infinite uses: Police use it to clock your speed, NASA uses it to follow satellites, meteorologists use it to track storms and the military uses it to track the enemy ... Learn all about radar technology! See more »

  • How Tuning Forks Work

    How Tuning Forks Work

    Pianos lose their tuning, guitars fall out of key -- even church organs need to be tuned every now and then. For centuries, the only sure-fire way to tell if an instrument was in tune was to use a tuning fork. See more »

  • The Skinny on Sonic Booms

    The Skinny on Sonic Booms

    A sonic boom occurs when a vessel breaks the speed of sound. So what is this infamous sonic boom, if not the shattering of the picture-window-in-the-sky? See more »

  • Can two cans and a string really be used to talk over a distance?

    Can two cans and a string really be used to talk over a distance?

    I was watching an old movie today, and two kids (neighbors) were talking to each other using two tin cans and a string. Does that really work? If so, why does it work? See more »

  • How to Measure Sound Travel in the Air

    How to Measure Sound Travel in the Air

    Did you ever wonder how to measure how fast sound travels in the air? Read this article to learn how to measure sound travel in the air. See more »

  • Noise


    Noise, unwanted sound. Whether or not a certain sound is referred to as "noise" depends on the viewpoint of the listener. See more »

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