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Velocity of Sound in Various Media

The speed of sound in air is around 768 mi/hr (1,125 ft/sec,


343m/sec), or about 5 seconds per mile, or 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.
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.
V = Velocity of plane longitudinal wave in bulk material.
l

V = Velocity of plane transverse (shear) wave.


s

ext

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

Solids
Density

Substance

(g/cm )

ext

(m/s)

(m/s)

(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

Titaninum

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

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

1120

2240

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Polystyrene

1.06

2350

Rubber, butyl

1.07

1830

Rubber, gum

0.95

1550

Rubber neoprene

1.33

1600

Brick

1.8

Clay rock

2.2

3480

Cork

0.25

500

Marble

2.6

3810

Paraffin

0.9

3650

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

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Liquids
Density
(g/cm )

Velocity at 25C
(m/s)

-v/t
(m/sec C)

C H 0

0.79

1174

4.5

C H

0.870

1295

4.65

Carbon tetrachloride

CCl

1.595

926

2.7

Castor oil

0.969

1477

3.6

Substance

Formula

Acetone
Benzene

3 6
6 6
4

11 10

10

4/3/2014 11:06 AM

Velocity of Sound in Various Media - RF Cafe

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http://www.rfcafe.com/references/general/velocity-sound-media.htm

Chloroform

CHCl

1.49

987

Ethanol amide

C H NO

1.018

1724

3.4

Ethyl ether

C H

0.713

985

4.87

Ethylene glycol

C H O

Glycerol

C H O

2 7

4 10

2 6
3 8

3.4

1.113

1658

2.1

1.26

1904

2.2
3.6

Kerosene

0.81

1324

13.5

1450

0.791

1103

0.88

1255

0.998

1496.7

Formula

Density
(g/l)

Velocity
(m/s)

v/t
(m/sec C)

1.293

331.45

0.59

Ammonia

NH

0.771

415

Argon

Ar

1.783

319 (at 20C)

0.56

Carbon monoxide

CO

1.25

338

0.6

Carbon dioxide

CO

1.977

259

0.4

Chlorine

CL

3.214

206

Deuterium

Ethane (10C)

C H

Mercury

Hg

Methanol

CH O
4

Turpentine
H O

Water (distilled)

3.2

-2.4

Gases and Vapors


Substance
Gases
Air, dry
3

890

1.356

2 6

1.6

308

Ethylene

C H

1.260

317

Helium

He

0.178

965

0.8

Hydrogen

0.0899

1284

2.2

Hydrogen chloride

HCl

1.639

296

Methane

CH

0.7168

430

Neon

Ne

0.900

435

Nitric oxide (10C)

NO

1.34

324

Nitrogen

1.251

334

0.6

Nitrous oxide

N O

1.977

263

0.5

Oxygen

1.429

316

0.56

Sulfur dioxide

SO

2.927

213

0.47

C H O

239

0.32

C H

202

0.3

Carbon tetrachloride

CCl

)
145

Chloroform

CHCl

171

0.24

Ethanol

C H O

269

0.4

Ethyl ether

C H

206

0.3

Methanol

CH O
4

335

0.46

Water vapor (134C)

H O

494

0.46

2 4

2
2

0.8

Vapors
Acetone

3 6
6 6

Benzene

4
3

2 6

4 10

Information from CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 7first Edition, 1990-1991, David R. Lide

Human Body Tissues


Substance

Velocity at 25C (m/s)

Soft Tissues

1540

Brain

1541

Liver

1549

Kidney

1561

Blood

1570

Muscle

1585

Lens of Eye

1620

Skull Bone

4080

Water

1540

Source

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