How sound travels

Apr 3, 2010
Seattle, WA
Most of us have a mistaken idea of how sound travels. We think waves start at the speaker and travel to our ears. In reality nothing travels that way. Rather, there is a chain reaction of molecules compressing and expanding. This animation, while having rather childish tone, has very nice animation to show this. It also explains why it is wrong to think of sound wave propagation as how waves travel through a string:

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