# How can sine waves represent both AC and sound waves?

How can sine waves be used to describe both alternating current and sound waves? In the case of alternating current, the zero crossing represents zero current, and the waveform below the zero crossing represents current with opposite polarity. What does the zero crossing represent in sound waves? Silence? When representing a sound wave, what does the waveform represent that is below the zero crossing? When representing alternating current, the waveform below the zero crossing represents "negative current." When representing a sound wave, does the waveform below the zero crossing represent "negative sound?"

• I believe sound waves are longitudinal waves Oct 30, 2020 at 17:57
• Because the sine function is a solution to the physically common differential equation where the restoring force is proportional to the negative displacement Oct 30, 2020 at 18:12
• Perceived sounds don't correspond to individual points on the pressure against time graph, rather it requires several cycles before we perceive a specific sound. Oct 30, 2020 at 18:16

In real sound waves the oscillation is not as slow as in this animation, but much faster (between $$20$$ and $$20000$$ oscillations per second).