Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology => Topic started by: blakestyger on 14/08/2008 10:12:19

Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: blakestyger on 14/08/2008 10:12:19
There was a bit of a storm yesterday afternoon and someone staying with us asked me what caused the sound of thunder - and guess what? I couldn't tell them.
Any help would be appreciated.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: lightarrow on 14/08/2008 11:03:01
It's very simple: the lightining is an extremely intense current through air; as such it heats the air. and Very much, up to thousands of degrees. This makes the air suddenly expand in a very violent way, and that's the thunder.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: paul.fr on 14/08/2008 11:34:21
It's very simple: the lightining is an extremely intense current through air; as such it heats the air. and Very much, up to thousands of degrees. This makes the air suddenly expand in a very violent way, and that's the thunder.

What! I always thought it was the sound of (insert your Deity) moving furniture.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: lightarrow on 14/08/2008 14:18:54
It's very simple: the lightining is an extremely intense current through air; as such it heats the air. and Very much, up to thousands of degrees. This makes the air suddenly expand in a very violent way, and that's the thunder.

What! I always thought it was the sound of (insert your Deity) moving furniture.
Ehm...I don't want to put in discussion a God's will! If that is the explanation they gave you, then...ok! [:)]
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: blakestyger on 14/08/2008 17:45:03
Thanks lightarrow - that's easy to remember.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: syhprum on 14/08/2008 19:04:54
As a child I was always told it was the clouds banging together.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: lightarrow on 14/08/2008 19:43:25
As a child I was always told it was the clouds banging together.
My God! What clouds are made of in your country?  [;D]
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: lyner on 15/08/2008 17:30:29
It's very simple: the lightining is an extremely intense current through air; as such it heats the air. and Very much, up to thousands of degrees. This makes the air suddenly expand in a very violent way, and that's the thunder.
It would be more accurate to say that the lightning produces a 'crack' or very short impulsive sound. The rumbling sound which we hear is because the initial pulse energy is dispersed as it travels through the air and echos off the landscape.

I, too, was told that it was clouds bumping together. But they told me, correctly, that Father Christmas brought presents and the tooth fairy left money - they had established their credentials already so I believed them.
Title: What makes the sound in thunder?
Post by: syhprum on 15/08/2008 19:22:58
Although we think of clouds as pretty inconsequential things I understand they quite often weigh 100,000 tons or so also when our aircraft drives thru them at 500 MPH they often seem rather solid.