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ERIC Number: EJ860212
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Speed of Sound in Metal Pipes: An Inexpensive Lab
Huggins, Elisha
Physics Teacher, v46 n1 p13-14 Jan 2008
Our favorite demonstration for sound waves is to set up a compressional pulse on a horizontally stretched Slinky[TM]. One can easily watch the pulse move back and forth at a speed of the order of one meter per second. Watching this demonstration, it occurred to us that the same thing might happen in a steel pipe if you hit the end of the pipe with a hammer. The main difference is that the speed of sound in steel is close to 5000 meters per second. If you hit the end of a 10-ft (3.05-m) pipe, the pulse should take about 1.2 ms to go down and back, a time conveniently measured by an oscilloscope.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A