Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When a longitudinal sound wave strikes a flat surface, sound is reflected in a coherent manner provided that the dimension of the reflective surface is large compared to the wavelength of the sound. Note that audible sound has a very wide frequency range (from about 20 about 1700 Hz), and thus a very wide range of wavelengths (from 20mm to 17m). As a result, the overall nature of the reflection varies according to the texture and structure of the surface. For example, porous materials will absorb some energy, and rough materials (where rough is relative to the wavelength) tend to reflect in many directions- to scatter energy, rather than to reflect it coherently. This leads into the field of architectural acoustics, because the nature of these reflections is critical to the auditory feel of a space. 

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