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ERIC Number: EJ860286
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
A Time-of-Flight Method to Measure the Speed of Sound Using a Stereo Sound Card
Carvalho, Carlos C.; dos Santos, J. M. B. Lopes; Marques, M. B.
Physics Teacher, v46 n7 p428-431 Oct 2008
Most homes in developed countries have a sophisticated data acquisition board, namely the PC sound board. Designed to be able to reproduce CD-quality stereo sound, it must have a sampling rate of at least 44 kHz and have very accurate timing between the two stereo channels. With a very simple adaptation of a pair of regular PC microphones, a computer with a stereo sound board, and sound analysis software, we were able to implement a method of accurate measurement of the speed of sound with several attractive features: a) The most expensive equipment, the PC, the sound board, and sound analysis software, are available in many homes and almost all schools; the two microphones and the additional electronics (see below) can be acquired for less than $50. b) The concept of the experiment is sufficiently simple to be grasped by very young students, 13-14 years old. c) The experiment itself is so straightforward that in a recent Open Day at our department, every group of students passing through the experiment was able to complete, in a couple of minutes, several measurements of c[subscript s], the speed of sound in air. d) It is possible to use the same apparatus to measure the speed of sound in solids.
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 - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A