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Suppose there is two long media that in one of them the speed of sound is high and in one of them is slow. Would the vibration in the one with the higher speed of sound would cause shock wave in the other?

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    Jun 20, 2022 at 10:00

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Yes- sort of. High-speed movies of nuclear explosions near the ground show that the shock wave travels faster in earth than in air. The disturbed earth then begins to propagate an acoustic pulse up and away from the ground in advance of the arrival of the supersonic shock through the air. The book How To Photograph An Atomic Bomb contains very clear photos of this effect.

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Yes definitely, thinking about this more mathematically makes sense as well. The direction of characteristics (or Mach waves) propagating in a medium depends on the acoustic speed within that medium (see also the shock condition from the R-H relations), so the magnitude of the acoustic speed will determine whether or not characteristics steepen into a shock, or diverge into rarefaction waves.

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