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Thread: Sound theory question

  1. #1 Sound theory question 
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I am just revising my lingustics and have come across a passage that is describing soundwaves.

    It talks of air 'particles', bumping into each other and passing this motion on to the next particle thereby transmitting a wave. The explanation assumes that each air particle is 'at rest' then on collision with another particle, 'oscillates'.

    My question is why 'oscillate' - by which they mean some kind of pendulum motion, why not billiard ball motion in other words a straight line trajectory?

    what causes the 'particle' which I assume to be atoms, to behave thus?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    New York State
    Sound waves are a macroscopic phenomenon, so looking at individual particles doesn't make sense.

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