# speed of sounds vs altitude

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by Oh_Gee, Sep 6, 2014.

1. ### Oh_Gee 5+ Year Member

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if sound travels faster through a denser medium, why does it speed of sound increase at a higher altitude where there is less dense air?

2. ### type12 5+ Year Member

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Your understanding is incorrect: waves travel faster in a less dense medium.

3. OP

### Oh_Gee 5+ Year Member

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i thought sound traveled faster through denser solids than less dense solids?

4. ### type12 5+ Year Member

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Nope, they travel faster in solids not because of density, but due to elasticity. There's more than one factor, and if you are just looking at inertia, the resistance to change shape (which density is a component of) impedes the flow of a wave.

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### Oh_Gee 5+ Year Member

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is there an equation for sound traveling through solids and non solids?

6. ### type12 5+ Year Member

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Yes

7. OP

### Oh_Gee 5+ Year Member

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so consider solid, liquid, gas
sound would travel faster in solids and slowest in gas right?

8. ### ReggieD6868 2+ Year Member

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Are you confusing speed and frequency? That may be your issue.

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### Oh_Gee 5+ Year Member

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no, i meant speed of sound

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