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Material density and the transmission of soundFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to ascertain how the density of a particular type of material affects the amount of sound transmitted through the material. The science fair project involved comparing the sound transmission characteristics of plywood, bakelite, glass and marble

Hypothesis

Higher density materials will transmit less sound. The marble would transmit the least amount of sound.

Scientific Terms

Solid, liquid, gas, kinetic energy, molecule, density, elasticity

Background

Sound transmission

Sound is transmitted more quickly through solids than through liquids and gas. This is because sound consists of kinetic energy that is transmitted from one molecule to another. This transfer of kinetic energy occurs more easily if molecules are closer to one another, as in the case of solids or even liquids, rather than in gases. The transmission of sound also depends on the elasticity and density of the medium.

The elasticity of materials is a measure of to what extent a medium is able to revert to its original form and shape when a force is applied to it and then removed. A highly inelastic medium like steel will be able to transmit sound more effectively than a highly elastic medium like rubber.

Another factor affecting the transmission of sound is density. High density materials will normally have bigger and heavier molecules. Since larger molecules have a heavier mass, they will require more kinetic energy to vibrate and transmit sound. This will make the transmission of sound slower and dampen the sound.

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
80
Time required:
2 days to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Hardware store or home depot
Safety concerns:

Handle breakable/heavy materials carefully. Ensure that you wear protective gloves.