Measuring the Speed of Sound

Hard
Have you ever wanted to measure the speed of sound? This project will show you how to measure the speed of sound using a stopwatch and a known distance.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis is that the speed of sound can be measured using a stopwatch and a known distance.

Method & Materials

You will measure the speed of sound by firing a starter's pistol and starting a stopwatch, then stopping the watch when you hear the echo.
You will need a starter's pistol, a stopwatch, and a known distance.

Results

The results of this experiment show that the speed of sound at 21 degrees Celsius (70°F) is 344 meters per second, or 1129 ft per second. At freezing, the numbers are 331 m/s or 1087 ft/s. There is about a 0.1% change per degree Fahrenheit. The speed of sound in water is 1480 m/s or 4856 ft/s, which is more than 3000 miles per hour.

Why do this project?

This science project is interesting because it allows you to measure the speed of sound, which is something that is usually taken for granted.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include measuring the speed of sound in different temperatures and measuring the speed of sound in different mediums (such as air, water, or a vacuum).

Full project details

You can find additional information and details for this science fair project here. Have fun exploring!

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