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Picture is a drawing of a source that moves towards the stationary observer with the speed faster than the speed of sound and sends out sound waves. Sound waves spread spherically from the point where they are emitted, but the source moves ahead of each wave. Constructive interference along the lines creates a shock wave.
Sound waves from a source that moves faster than the speed of sound spread spherically from the point where they are emitted, but the source moves ahead of each wave. Constructive interference along the lines shown (actually a cone in three dimensions) creates a shock wave called a sonic boom. The faster the speed of the source, the smaller the angle θ .

Constructive interference along the lines shown (a cone in three dimensions) from similar sound waves arriving there simultaneously. This superposition forms a disturbance called a shock wave    , a constructive interference of sound created by an object moving faster than sound. Inside the cone, the interference is mostly destructive, so the sound intensity there is much less than on the shock wave. The angle of the shock wave can be found from the geometry. In time t the source has moved v s t and the sound wave has moved a distance vt and the angle can be found using sin θ = v t v s t = v v s . Note that the Mach number is defined as v s v so the sine of the angle equals the inverse of the Mach number,

sin θ = v w s = 1 M .

You may have heard of the common term ‘ sonic boom    .’ A common misconception is that the sonic boom occurs as the plane breaks the sound barrier; that is, accelerates to a speed higher than the speed of sound. Actually, the sonic boom occurs as the shock wave sweeps along the ground.

An aircraft creates two shock waves, one from its nose and one from its tail ( [link] ). During television coverage of space shuttle landings, two distinct booms could often be heard. These were separated by exactly the time it would take the shuttle to pass by a point. Observers on the ground often do not see the aircraft creating the sonic boom, because it has passed by before the shock wave reaches them, as seen in the figure. If the aircraft flies close by at low altitude, pressures in the sonic boom can be destructive and break windows as well as rattle nerves. Because of how destructive sonic booms can be, supersonic flights are banned over populated areas.

Picture is a drawing of observers located below moving aircraft. Observer experiences two sonic booms created by the nose and tail of an aircraft.
Two sonic booms experienced by observers, created by the nose and tail of an aircraft as the shock wave sweeps along the ground, are observed on the ground after the plane has passed by.

Shock waves are one example of a broader phenomenon called bow wakes. A bow wake    , such as the one in [link] , is created when the wave source moves faster than the wave propagation speed. Water waves spread out in circles from the point where created, and the bow wake is the familiar V-shaped wake, trailing the source. A more exotic bow wake is created when a subatomic particle travels through a medium faster than the speed of light travels in that medium. (In a vacuum, the maximum speed of light is c = 3.00 × 10 8 m/s; in the medium of water, the speed of light is closer to 0.75 c .) If the particle creates light in its passage, that light spreads on a cone with an angle indicative of the speed of the particle, as illustrated in [link] . Such a bow wake is called Cerenkov radiation and is commonly observed in particle physics.

A photograph of a duck swimming in water and creating a bow wake.
Bow wake created by a duck. Constructive interference produces the rather structured wake, whereas relatively little wave action occurs inside the wake, where interference is mostly destructive. (credit: Horia Varlan)

Questions & Answers

What is a volt equal to?
Clifton Reply
list and explain the 3 ways of charging a conductor
Chidimma Reply
conduction convention rubbing
Asdesaw
formula of magnetic field
Yonas Reply
Integral of a vector
Rahat Reply
define surface integral of a vector?
Rahat
the number of degree freedom of a rigid body in2-dimantion is:
Raj Reply
1
Nathan
A block (A) of weight 5 kN is to be raised by means of a 20° wedge (B) by the application of a horizontal force (P) as shown in Fig.1. The block A is constrained to move vertically by the application of a horizontal force (S). Find the magnitude of the forces F and S, when the coefficient of fricti
Danilo
A body receives impulses of 24Ns and 35Ns inclined 55 degree to each other. calculate the total impulse
Sukpen Reply
A body receives impulses of 24Ns and 35Ns inclined 55 degree to each other. calculate the total impulse
Previous
twenty four square plus thirty-five square minus to multiple thirty five twenty four and equal answer number square Via this equation defined Total Total impulse
Cemal
why simple pendulum do not vibrate indefinitely?
Zirmal
define integral vector
Rahat
what is matar
Abdulrahman Reply
define surface integral vector?
Rahat
The uniform boom shown below weighs 500 N, and the object hanging from its right end weighs 400 N. The boom is supported by a light cable and by a hinge at the wall. Calculate the tension in the cable and the force on the hinge on the boom. Does the force on the hinge act along the boom?
Jave Reply
A 11.0-m boom, AB , of a crane lifting a 3000-kg load is shown below. The center of mass of the boom is at its geometric center, and the mass of the boom is 800 kg. For the position shown, calculate tension T in the cable and the force at the axle A .
Jave
what is the S.I unit of coefficient of viscosity
Biam Reply
Derived the formula of Newton's law of universal gravitation Fg=G(M1M2)/R2
Monychol Reply
hi
Asdesaw
yes
Cemal
a non-uniform boom of a crane 15m long, weighs 2800nts, with its center of gravity at 40% of its lenght from the hingr support. the boom is attached to a hinge at the lower end. rhe boom, which mAKES A 60% ANGLE WITH THE HORIZONTAL IS SUPPORTED BY A HORIZONTAL GUY WIRE AT ITS UPPER END. IF A LOAD OF 5000Nts is hung at the upper end of the boom, find the tension in the guywire and the components of the reaction at the hinge.
dangly Reply
what is the centripetal force
Malok Reply
Of?
John
centripetal force of attraction that pulls a body that is traversing round the orbit of a circle toward the center of the circle. Fc = MV²/r
Sampson
centripetal force is the force of attraction that pulls a body that is traversing round the orbit of a circle toward the center of the circle. Fc = MV²/r
Sampson
I do believe the formula for centripetal force is F=MA or F=m(v^2/r)
John
I mean the formula is Fc= Mass multiplied by square of velocity all over the Radius of the circle
Sampson
Yes
John
The force is equal to the mass times the velocity squared divided by the radius
John
That's the current chapter I'm on in my engineering physics class
John
Centripetal force is a force of attraction which keeps an object round the orbit towards the center of a circle. Mathematically Fc=mv²/r
Adebileje
In Example, we calculated the final speed of a roller coaster that descended 20 m in height and had an initial speed of 5 m/s downhill. Suppose the roller coaster had had an initial speed of 5 m/s uphill instead, and it coasted uphill, stopped, and then rolled back down to a final point 20 m bel
tan Reply
A steel lift column in a service station is 4 meter long and .2 meter in diameter. Young's modulus for steel is 20 X 1010N/m2.  By how much does the column shrink when a 5000- kg truck is on it?
Andiswa Reply
hi
Abdulrahman
mola mass
Abdulrahman
hi
Asdesaw
what exactly is a transverse wave
Dharmee Reply
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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