Speed of Sound in Water-Air Mixtures

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This Demonstration calculates the speed of sound for a homogeneous mixture of water and air. Surface tension is neglected for air bubbles in water or water droplets in air, and density is assumed independent of temperature for simplicity. It is shown that the speed of sound is much lower for a large range of mixing ratios than the speed of sound in either air or water alone. The speed of sound in the mixture is determined predominantly by the density of water and the compressibility of air.

Contributed by: Kay Herbert (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] C. E. Brennen, "Homogeneous Bubbly Flows," Captivation and Bubble Dynamics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. http://authors.library.caltech.edu/25017/4/chap6.htm.

[2] Wikipedia, "Sound of Speed." (Feb 08, 2011) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_sound.

[3] "Speed of Sound in Pure Water." (Feb 08, 2011) http://resource.npl.co.uk/acoustics/techguides/soundpurewater/content.html# BELOGOL.

[4] W. Marczak, "Water as a Standard in the Measurements of Speed of Sound in Liquids," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 102(5), 1997 pp. 2776–2779.

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