What is a shock wave?

The science behind breaking the sound barrier

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Shock waves are large amplitude pressure waves produced by an object moving faster than the speed of sound like a boat or plane, or other things such as an explosion, lightning or even a moving piston.

When a source moves faster than the waves it produces, no waves will form in front of the source but will pile up behind and become compressed. The waves protruding are confined to a cone that narrows as the speed of the source increases and the waves bunch up, creating high-pressure regions outside the compressed waves. This border from inside to outside is the shock wave. The strength of a shock wave dissipates greatly with distance, much more so than a regular wave, as heat and other energy are more quickly transferred into the surrounding environment. Once enough energy has dissipated, the shock wave will become a regular wave such as a sound wave.

What is a shock wave?

In this image, the USS Iowa is firing shells from its cannon that travel about twice the speed of sound. While the shells themselves will likely produce their own shock waves as they travel through the air, it is the shock wave caused by the explosion of the cannons that is visible on the water.

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  • me

    yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay apple

  • Viking

    Yaaaay Apple? Really? Lets get some other facts into the mix, with 10% of the market nobody cares to write malicious code to attack OS X. I have multiple Mac’s, they DO NOT get daily updates, David, you know this so why say they do?

    This little article was written on 7/11, somehow David didn’t note the Mac Defender virus that Apple ignored and went out of their way to tell support staff to pretend isn’t there. Finally after A LOT of public pressure they have done something about it.

    Unix has nothing to do with how safe a Mac is, if Apple had 90% of the market you can bet there would be plenty for Mac owners to worry about. As for less privilege you get prompted for your password, the same as Windows 7, once you type that password you have given permission for whatever asked for it be it something you executed or a downloaded virus tried to get permission for.

    Don’t get me wrong but I have heard Apple fan boys for decades talk about how monopolistic Microsoft is, what system is more closed and monopolistic than Apple?? This may be the wrong term but you get my point, Apple squashes anything that gets in their way or companies that try to compete at the computer hardware level. I applaud them for selling their OS cheap and not using that awful activation system but then they get stupid and use the App store as the only way to get Lion, good grief.