What will be the end result of the following experiment: I take two "identical" buckets of water and a hammer. I strike the surface of the first bucket with a low speed and measure the speed of the fastest sound wave to form in the water. I strike the other surface as hard as I can and do the same measurement.

Will the two speeds be equal? (to ~1500 m/s)

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the two speeds will be equal. The speed of impact will affect the amplitude of the waves, but not the speed. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Dec 30 '14 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ Well, let's be careful: the speed of sound depends on the wavelength (or equivalently, frequency) of sound. If your two impacts differ significantly in the force vs. time curve, you may create different sound frequencies. However, for a given frequency, the speed in air is independent of amplitude. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Dec 30 '14 at 12:51

Propagation of waves in a medium depends on the physical properties of the medium (density, temperature etc...). This is why waves propagate with uniform speed in the air, water, in a metal rod etc...

  • $\begingroup$ Your wording is misleading and may lead the reader to think you're claiming the speed is the same regardless of medium, which I hope :-) you didn't mean. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Dec 30 '14 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft agreed. thanks for pointing this out $\endgroup$ – Phoenix87 Dec 30 '14 at 13:08

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