Sound Wave Transmission

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 2, 2009
I have a question about sound waves and vacuums. I think I am over complicating a homework question and need a little assistance.

With regard to sound waves, when these are in electronic format ie just before being received by an aeria can they travel in a vacuum? My understanding is that they can and a receiver such as a superhet can function in a vacuum but will just not put out any sound at the speaker stage. I believe I am actually incorrect on thise and would really appreciate assistance.


Joined Feb 19, 2009
Acoustic waves do not travel through a vacuum, as the waves are variations in air pressure. By definition, a vacuum has no air.

Radio/Electric Field/Electromagnetic waves do not require air to function. Example that isn't exactly an analogy: Opposing poles of magnets will repel in a vacuum, or in air.


Joined Apr 20, 2004
No, that is entirely correct. Electromagnetic radiation - radio - obeys different laws than mechanical sound waves.

At one time, when scientists understood that sound traveled by the compression and rarefaction of air (pressure waves), it was logically thought that some similar mechanism had to govern light. Light was understood to be a wave phenomenon, as interference patterns could be generated. So the idea of the luminiferous ether was put forth. This was a crystalline medium that could support the transmission of light at infinite speed, but also imperceptible to solid matter - something like dark matter.