AQA GCSE Physics

Revision Notes

6.1.10 Exploring Structure Using Waves

Higher Tier Only

Exploring Structure Using Waves

  • Sound waves can be used to analyse structures that are hidden from direct observation
  • Examples of the use of sound waves
    • Echo sounding used by shipping to detect the ocean floor
    • Ultrasound used to look inside the human body
    • Ultrasound crack detection to find cracks in rail tracks
    • Reflection seismology to detect oil and gas underground
    • Seismic activity (Earthquakes) can be used to investigate the structure of the Earth
  • The properties of a substance that allow the detection of hidden structures are:
    • Reflection
    • Absorption
    • Transmission
    • The speed of sound in the substance
  • Each type of substance will produce different amounts of reflection, absorption and transmission
  • Each type of substance will also transmit a sound wave at a specific speed
    • Sounds will travel faster in solids than liquids and sound travels faster in liquids than gases
  • Certain structures will reflect a proportion of the sound wave and transmit the rest
    • Some substances will absorb sound waves with very little reflection
  • By detecting the amount of sound reflected and the speed of the wave the hidden structure can be identified

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Katie has always been passionate about the sciences, and completed a degree in Astrophysics at Sheffield University. She decided that she wanted to inspire other young people, so moved to Bristol to complete a PGCE in Secondary Science. She particularly loves creating fun and absorbing materials to help students achieve their exam potential.
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