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I have studied some physics in college, but not enough to know the answer.

My motivation: sound (or acoustics in general) does not exist in a vacuum, which means that acoustic waves are only present if there is mass present. Since we know that gravity comes from mass, and apparently acoustic waves do as well, is there a relationship between gravity and acoustic waves?

Any insight or pointers into ongoing research is appreciated

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An early attempt at detecting gravitational waves was based on the prediction that a passing gravitational wave of astronomical origin would induce a mechanical vibration (a standing acoustic wave) in a large bar of metal.

The device consisted of multiple aluminium cylinders, 2 meters in length and 1 meter in diameter, antennae for detecting theoretical gravitational waves.

Unfortunately gravitational waves (if they exist) are very weak, and while Joseph Weber claimed to have detected a signal from a supernova in 1987, this claim was disputed, and no other signals were detected.

Similarly, almost any vibrating object1 is predicted to give off gravitational waves, but the waves from an Earth-based object (something you could set to vibrate in a laboratory) are far too weak to detect.

[1] as long as its mass quadrupole moment is changing as it vibrates

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response. In the last paragraph, you mention a lab experiment from an Earth-based object would be too weak to detect...but what about vibrations of the Earth itself? $\endgroup$ – soultrane Jan 19 '15 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @soultrane, you mean earthquakes? It's still much easier to detect the vibrations themselves than any gravitational waves given off, and in fact earth tremors are considered unwanted "noise" to the people trying to detect astronomical gravitational waves (LIGO and others), because they vibrate the detector directly with no need for gravitational transmission. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Allen Jan 19 '15 at 20:08
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uENITui5_jU How about this experiment, there is some conection between sound and gravity?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Physics.SE! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. $\endgroup$ – Gonenc May 7 '15 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ @cornelius: I am not sure how you would describe that experiments using some theory of gravity. I agree that it may point to some connection between acoustics and gravity, but I am not sure what the connection is. $\endgroup$ – soultrane May 10 '15 at 15:49

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