• Question: How do vibrations travel through the air?

    Asked by antisocialash to Stuart, Simone, Serena, Alex on 25 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Stuart Archer

      Stuart Archer answered on 25 Jun 2013:

      Vibrations travel through air in the form of something called ‘longitudinal waves’. There’s a really good animation here that shows how they move:

      When something (like a speaker) vibrates, it causes it’s surface to move. The motion of it’s surface compresses the air that’s immediately in front of it. This compression forms a wave, as in the diagram, which travels directly away from the source of the vibration. I’m not a physicist, so can’t explain it in more detail than that – hope that answers your question!