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I did a lab in class and the data I got might be a bit skewed (this is homework). When I graphed the speed of sound (m/s; y-axis) vs. air temp (degrees Celsius; x-axis), my graph resembled that of the graph of $y=x^3$ where it goes from concave down to concave up. Does my data contain errors or is this actually the way the graph was supposed to turn out?

Experiment: We took a Pasco Resonance tube and heated it up with a hair dryer to about 38 degrees Celsius. Then we placed a microphone near the open end (other side was closed) and used a dog clicker to make a sound right next to the microphone. The microphone recorded the sound as it went into the tube, bounced back, and came back to the microphone. The room was a standard college Physics classroom (room temp, regular pressure, humidity, etc...)


marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Martin, ACuriousMind, Kyle Kanos, yuggib Jun 8 '15 at 18:35

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  • $\begingroup$ If it is near room temperature it approximatly is linear, but without knowing what conditions your experiment was in, it will be difficult to tell which model best suits. $\endgroup$ – Cicero Jun 8 '15 at 2:33
  • $\begingroup$ I will add more details of the experiment to the question. $\endgroup$ – DarthVoid Jun 8 '15 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ speed of sound should be proportional to the square root of the absolute temperature. How did you measure the gas temperature? $\endgroup$ – docscience Jun 8 '15 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose you assumed that the full column cooled down uniformly as you took readings. More likely there was convection and non-uniformity of temperature through the length of the gas column. That could lead the anomaly you are seeing. $\endgroup$ – docscience Jun 8 '15 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ See the duplicate I've suggested. $v \propto \sqrt{T}$. Over the small range of temperatures you've used it it appear linear to a good approximation. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jun 8 '15 at 11:12

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