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 About RF Cafe Copyright: 1996 - 2024Webmaster:    Kirt Blattenberger,     BSEE - KB3UON RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived... All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged. My Hobby Website: AirplanesAndRockets.com

# Speed of Sound in Various Materials

The speed of sound in air is around 768 mi/hr (1,125 ft/sec, 343m/sec), or about 5 seconds per mile (3 seconds per kilometer). That is the reason for the rule of thumb where when you see a flash of lightning, count the number of seconds until you hear the thunder clap, then divide by five. That gives you the approximate distance (in miles) away of the lightning. Divide by three for kilometers. Most of this data came from my hard copy of the 51st Edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. See also Velocity of Sound in Dry Air.

The speed of sound in any medium is dependent upon the coefficient of stiffness (modulus of bulk elasticity for gas mediums). Density and/or compressibility alone does not determine the speed of sound.

Vl = Velocity of plane longitudinal wave in bulk material.

Vs = Velocity of plane transverse (shear) wave.

Vext = Velocity of longitudinal wave (extensional wave) in thin rods.

 Solids Substance Density(g/cm3) Vl(m/s) Vs(m/s) Vext(m/s) Metals Aluminum, rolled 2.7 6420 3040 5000 Berylium 1.87 12890 8880 12870 Brass (70 Cu, 30 Zn) 8.6 4700 2110 3480 Copper, annealed 8.93 4760 2325 3810 Copper, rolled 8.93 5010 2270 3750 Gold, hard-drawn 19.7 3240 1200 2030 Iron, Armco 7.85 5960 3240 5200 Lead, annealed 11.4 2160 700 1190 Lead, rolled 11.4 1960 690 1210 Molybdenum 10.1 6250 3350 5400 Monel metal 8.90 5350 2720 4400 Nickel (unmagnetized) 8.85 5480 2990 4800 Nickel 8.9 6040 3000 4900 Platinum 21.4 3260 1730 2800 Silver 10.4 3650 1610 2680 Steel, mild 7.85 5960 3235 5200 Steel, 347 Stainless 7.9 5790 3100 5000 Tin, rolled 7.3 3320 1670 2730 Titanium 4.5 6070 3125 5080 Tungsten, annealed 19.3 5220 2890 4620 Tungsten Carbide 13.8 6655 3980 6220 Zinc, rolled 7.1 4210 2440 3850 Various Fused silica 2.2 5968 3764 5760 Glass, Pyrex 2.32 5640 3280 5170 Glass, heavy silicate flint 3.88 3980 2380 3720 Lucite 1.18 2680 1100 1840 Nylon 6-6 1.11 2620 1070 1800 Polyethylene 0.90 1950 540 920 Polystyrene 1.06 2350 1120 2240 Rubber, butyl 1.07 1830 Rubber, gum 0.95 1550 Rubber neoprene 1.33 1600 Brick 1.8 3650 Clay rock 2.2 3480 Cork 0.25 500 Marble 2.6 3810 Paraffin 0.9 1300 Tallow 390 Woods Ash, along the fiber 4670 Beech, along the fiber 3340 Elm, along the fiber 4120 Maple, along the fiber 4110 Oak, along the fiber 3850 Human Body Tissues Soft Tissue

 Liquids Substance Formula Density(g/cm3) Velocity at 25°C(m/s) -δv/δt(m/sec °C) Acetone C3H60 0.79 1174 4.5 Benzene C6H6 0.870 1295 4.65 Carbon tetrachloride CCl4 1.595 926 2.7 Castor oil C11H10O10 0.969 1477 3.6 Chloroform CHCl3 1.49 987 3.4 Ethanol amide C2H7NO 1.018 1724 3.4 Ethyl ether C4H10O 0.713 985 4.87 Ethylene glycol C2H6O2 1.113 1658 2.1 Glycerol C3H8O3 1.26 1904 2.2 Kerosene 0.81 1324 3.6 Mercury Hg 13.5 1450 Methanol CH4O 0.791 1103 3.2 Turpentine 0.88 1255 Water (distilled) H2O 0.998 1496.7 -2.4

 Gases and Vapors Substance Formula Density(g/l) Velocity(m/s) δv/δt(m/sec °C) Gases Air, dry 1.293 331.45 0.59 Ammonia NH3 0.771 415 Argon Ar 1.783 319 (at 20°C) 0.56 Carbon monoxide CO 1.25 338 0.6 Carbon dioxide CO2 1.977 259 0.4 Chlorine CL2 3.214 206 Deuterium D2 890 1.6 Ethane (10°C) C2H6 1.356 308 Ethylene C2H4 1.260 317 Helium He 0.178 965 0.8 Hydrogen H2 0.0899 1284 2.2 Hydrogen chloride HCl 1.639 296 Methane CH4 0.7168 430 Neon Ne 0.900 435 0.8 Nitric oxide (10°C) NO 1.34 324 Nitrogen N2 1.251 334 0.6 Nitrous oxide N2O 1.977 263 0.5 Oxygen O2 1.429 316 0.56 Sulfur dioxide SO2 2.927 213 0.47 Vapors Acetone C3H6O 239 0.32 Benzene C6H6 202 0.3 Carbon tetrachloride CCl4 145 Chloroform CHCl3 171 0.24 Ethanol C2H6O 269 0.4 Ethyl ether C4H10O 206 0.3 Methanol CH4O 335 0.46 Water vapor (134°C) H2O 494 0.46

 Human Body Tissues Substance Velocity at 25°C (m/s) Soft Tissues 1540 Brain 1541 Liver 1549 Kidney 1561 Blood 1570 Muscle 1585 Lens of Eye 1620 Skull Bone 4080 Water 1540
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