For example, if you are strong enough to tear apart a piece of plastic - it will make a distinctive sound. If you break it - it too makes a sound. Even if you tear apart paper - it makes sound. But why does this happen?

If you smash solid objects - they make sound, but this is somewhat understandable - high speed, high energy, momentum, boom and they create a soundwave.

But if you just tear something apart, for example, a piece of paper - it is less understandable.


3 Answers 3


Tearing up a piece of paper pulls the wood pulp fibers apart. This goes in steps and bits in quick succession. It makes the piece of paper move, which the sets the air in motion to produces sound of relatively high frequencies.

We are good at recognizing these sounds. The sound of something walking over dry leaves in the woods gives information over what kind of animal is out there.


When paper is torn, then vibrations are set up in the fibres which are torn within the paper. These vibrations (which are simple harmonic in nature upto 2n order) excite the air surrounding it, thus producing sound


I’m not physics guy but I think I can answer this. When you break a bond,it releases energy which travel through air as sound waves.

  • $\begingroup$ This is exactly backwards; energy is released when you make a bond. It requires energy to break a bond. $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2018 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ That makes sense $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2018 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ So should I delete my “answer”? $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2018 at 16:21

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