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59

Since cables carry electricity moving at the speed of light, why aren't computer networks much faster? Perhaps I can address your confusion with a rhetorical question: Since air carries sound moving at the speed of sound, why can't I talk to you much faster? The speed of sound is much slower than light, but at 340 m/s in air, it's still pretty damn ...


21

As you've probably guessed the speed of light isn't the limitation. Photons in a vacuum travel at the speed of light ($c_o$). Photons in anything else travel slower, like in your cable ($0.64c_o$). The amount the speed is reduced by depends on the material by the permittivity. Information itself is slower still. One photon doesn't carry much ...


11

A transmission line is made of a pair of conductors which have some resistance, inductance, capacitance, and leakage conductance. We can take all of these per unit length: The wave equation for signals in this line, in the limit of a lossless cable with $R=0$, $G=0$, is $$ \frac{\partial^2 V(x)}{\partial x^2} + \omega^2 LC \cdot V(x) = 0 $$ You have to be ...


8

The reasoning has to be the other way around: Light acts on the metal and makes the electrons move. This, however, results in an energy loss, as the electrons feel a resistance and thus the radiation loses energy. This can be formulated more precisely with counteracting electric fields. That's why all good conductors are opaque. In insulators this can not ...


8

A wave can propagate in any medium that is: a) elastic b) less than critically damped Neither homogeneity nor isotropy are necessary. Any elastic system will return to it's original state when deformed, the question is just whether the deformation can propagate, and this is down to how quickly the energy of the deformation is dissipated. If the damping ...


7

You should look at the form of the advanced fundamental solution of D'Alembert equation, built up in geodesically convex open sets including the source localized at the event $y$ and the test point localized at the enent $x$ receiving the wave generating by the source. The construction, at least for analytic manifolds with analytic metrics, is obtained by ...


5

Yes. Higher frequencies are attenuated more over distance than lower frequencies are, which has a rounding effect on the square wave as the upper harmonics are reduced. Reference Do low frequency sounds really carry longer distances?


4

The trouble is that your table, or whatever object it is, will act as a waveguide. That's because the sound waves will (partially) reflect of the wood/air surface then travel back into the table and interfere with other waves. The result is going to be hideously complicated to calculate. As Luboš says in a comment, if the thickness of the table is much less ...


4

A wave is generated by a disturbance in a medium. For a wave to propagate, do not necessarily need a medium. For example, an electromagnetic wave can propagate in vacuum, while a sound wave requires an elastic medium to travel. The requirements for the propagation of a wave, are dependent on the nature of the wave.


4

"Surely this is a bottleneck" - No, it's really not. Any real-life network connection is not speed-limited by the propagation speed of the signal in the cable, but by the processing delays in the various routers, switches, and network interface processing at each end.


3

How sure are you that electricity travels at the speed of light? Although electricity propagation moves at the speed of an E/M wave, and not electrons, its speed depends on the dielectric constant of the material. Only in a vacuum, I think, would it travel at the speed of light.


3

An overview in layman's terms: First, it is important to note that not any electric field will induce current in a conductor, because other than the fact the intensity of the field defines the speed of each charge (bigger difference of potential), the oscillation frequency of the $\mathbf{E}$ also plays a very important role, if the frequency is too high, ...


3

Why only 64% What does propagation speed mean? I know there are other variables effecting the latency and perceived speed of computer network connections, but surely this is a bottle neck. Speed of signal propagation is distance the signal (packet) travels in one second. It is usually lower than $c$ because EM waves that carry the information travel in ...


3

It generally does not work in curved spacetime. There is a quite thick book almost completely devoted to study this issue by P. Günther: Huygens' Principle and Hyperbolic Equations. Some discussions can be found in Friedlander's book about the wave equation in curved spacetime. A necessary condition for the validity of the Huygens principle is that the ...


3

A wavefront (your signal) has a fixed amount of energy given to it by the transmitter. Whatever happens to the wave once it leaves the transmitter is independent of the transmitter, thus receiving a signal does not drain any additional energy from the transmitter (though it can drain energy from the wavefront itself). EDIT: As pointed out by @Alfred ...


2

There are several ways to amplify the magnetic field, though the mechanism is not same as for electrical signal amplification, but still they are fruitful. compression:- since a magnetic flux through a surface remains conserved, if we compress the field lines or stretch (or fold) the field line then we can increase the energy by working against the field ...


2

If the observer moves away with a constant velocity, they will hear a different frequency, but $f'$ will remain the same. Perhaps the problem meant that the observer accelerated away, or it is possible that the textbook editors made a mistake (which happens more frequently than most people realize). As for your second question - if the observer ...


2

The question, answers and explanation are poorly worded. Since the observer's velocity changes, the nature of that change, his/her acceleration, is significant. If the observer begins to accelerate away from the source, and continues to accelerate, then the perceived frequency will continue to decrease (as long as the observer stays sub-sonic!) At any ...


2

The following picture (from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/waves/imgwav/circonwave.gif) gives you a better sense of how to reconcile your observation with "circular motion": As you can see - there is circular motion for particles at the surface: they don't have to go under water to do it though. Incidentally this also shows that in the trough ...


2

Two reasons: 1) The speed of light in a "medium" is (almost*) always slower than the speed of light in a vacuum. 2) Electricity propagating in a wire is subject to inductive and capacitive effects which slow it's progress. And even if wires were infinitely fast, integrated circuits are not. Again, inductive (a little) and capacitive (a lot) effects limit ...


1

The off-axis intensity is not sero, it is simply quite low. This article on the Wolfram web site shows the 2D diffraction pattern from the sort of aperture you describe along with the equation for calculating the intensity: $$ I = 16C^2a^2b^2\left(\frac{\sin(\theta_xka)}{\theta_xka}\right)^2\left(\frac{\sin(\theta_yka)}{\theta_yka}\right)^2 $$ where the ...


1

For low-frequency radiation, it's quite simple: there's some electronic circuit that works (simple case) analogous to a tuning fork, but instead of building up mechanical tension it charges a capacitor and instead of the inertia in the fork's arms it has a magnetic field in a solenoid. You can measure the voltage against time, count the oscillations in one ...


1

The thing which is "vibrating" is the electromagnetic field, namely its $\vec E$ and $\vec B$ vectors. The animations here show precisely this. Of course, it's not that some particles vibrate in this case. The electromagnetic wave can exist without any matter at all — all it needs is the field, which is present everywhere. But, if we have some charges ...


1

Consider the initial pulse - it is of finite and short duration. It contains a number of frequency components, with higher and higher frequencies required for shorter and shorter initial pulses. This can be seen by taking the Fourier transform of your initial pulse. As the pulse propagates and the higher frequencies are preferentially absorbed, you can no ...


1

For an electromagnetic wave, this is the propagation constant. It can be expressed as the sum of two terms: the attenuation constant and the phase constant.


1

There is a good explanation of this in Matter and Interactions vol II by Sherwood and Chabay. I no longer have the text; I will try to summarize its explanation as I remember it. The electrons in a substance are analogous to charged masses on springs. The electrons in insulators are relatively tightly bound; those in conductors are loosely bound or unbound. ...


1

You're question is very broad, and will probably be closed, but recently, in researching my answer to this other question, I found what may in fact be the first documented instance of someone making an informed analogy between sound and light, namely Young in his lecture to the royal society in 1803 on his observations of interference of light. I'll ...


1

"Bright light can never hurt your eyes" seems false to me… enough energy focused on the retina will cause damage, regardless of the wavelength. Otherwise you would not need to wear laser goggles… That aside, materials typically have certain ranges where they absorb light more strongly than others. There is no hard and fast rule for this, but if you google ...


1

Even though the forces started at different times, is there any displacement of the metal box in any of the situations? Or is there any movement at all but is the net displacement zero? Sure. If you think of each force as causing an acceleration, the first one begins an acceleration in one direction, the second an acceleration in the other (or a ...



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