Why does a wet towel make a cracking sound when flicked?

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ALLIYU

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ALLIYU asked the Naked Scientists:
   
When a wet towel is flicked, it creates a cracking sound like a whip.  What is this effect and why does a wet towel crack louder than a dry one?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/04/2010 01:30:04 by _system »

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Offline grizelda

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Why does a wet towel make a cracking sound when flicked?
« Reply #1 on: 27/04/2010 11:28:47 »
The tip of the towel is accelerated past the speed of sound, so you hear a small sonic boom. Possibly some of the moisture suddenly boils away from the heat caused by friction at that speed so you may also hear that.

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Offline yor_on

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Why does a wet towel make a cracking sound when flicked?
« Reply #2 on: 28/04/2010 01:24:27 »
Well a wet towel is heavier, maybe that have something to do with the sound? Just a guess :)
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