Describe in brief, with the aid of a labelled diagram, an experiment to demonstrate that a material medium is necessary for the propagation of sound.



A material medium is required for the propagation of sound.

Experiment —

Take an electric bell and an air tight glass bell jar. The electric bell is suspended inside the bell jar. The bell jar is connected to the vacuum pump as shown below.


As the circuit of electric bulb is completed by pressing the key, the hammer of the electric bell is seen to strike the gong repeatedly and sound of the bell is heard.

Now keeping the key pressed, air is gradually withdrawn from the jar by starting the vacuum pump. It is noticed that the loudness of sound goes on decreasing as the air is taken out from the bell jar and finally no sound is heard when the entire air from the jar has been drawn out.

The hammer of electric bulb is still seen striking the gong repeatedly which means that the gong is still vibrating to produce sound (as hammer strikes the gong), but it is not heard.

Explanation —

When the hammer of the bell hits the gong, sound is produced due to vibration of the gong which travels through the air to the wall of the jar. This causes the wall of jar to vibrate due to which the air outside the jar is also set in vibration.

Thus, sound is heard by us. But when air has been removed from the jar, sound produced due to vibrations of the gong could not travel to the wall of the jar , so wall could not vibrate and no sound is heard.

This clearly demonstrates that sound requires a material medium for it’s transmission and it cannot travel through vacuum.

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