Sonic Boom

views updated May 23 2018

Sonic boom

When an object moves through a fluid, it displaces that fluid in the form of a shock wave. The path left by a speedboat in water is an example of a shock wave. A sonic boom is a special kind of shock wave produced when an object travels though air at a speed greater than the speed of sound (1,100 ft/sec [335 m/sec] at sea level). Supersonic aircraft, such as the Concorde, produce a sonic boom when they fly faster than the speed of sound. A number of adverse environmental effects have been attributed to sonic booms from supersonic airplanes. These include the breaking of windows and the frightening of animals and people.

sonic boom

views updated May 18 2018

sonic boom Sudden noise produced by shock waves from an aircraft flying at supersonic velocity. The shock waves are formed by the build up of sound waves at the front and back of the aircraft. These waves spread out and sweep across the ground behind the aircraft, often causing a double bang. See also sound barrier

sonic boom

views updated May 29 2018

son·ic boom • n. a loud explosive noise caused by the shock wave from an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound.