Fr.: vitesse du son
The velocity of propagation of a → longitudinal wave in a medium under specified conditions. Also known as sonic speed, sonic velocity, acoustic velocity, sound velocity, velocity of sound, speed of sound. The speed of sound is a thermodynamic property that relates to the change in pressure and density of the medium and can be expressed as C = (dP/dρ)1/2, where C is the sound velocity, dP is the change in pressure, and dρ the change in density. It can also be expressed as C = (E/ρ)1/2, where E is the bulk modulus elasticity. This equation is valid for liquids, solids and gases. The sound travels faster through media with higher → elasticity and/or lower density. If a medium is → incompressible the speed of sound is infinite. For → ideal gases, a simple relationship exists between the sound speed and temperature: C = (γR T)1/2, where γ is the → specific heat ratio (CP/CV), and R is the → gas constant. We see that for ideal gases it the speed is independent of pressure. In air at 0°C it is 332 m/sec. The speed of sound in a gas of hydrogen is 1315 m/s. → Mach number.