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Noises off!

Tired of hearing your parents complain about your music? Even more tired of listening to theirs? Try these experiments to help you soundproof your room.

THE RIGHT STUFF

The first thing you need to know about soundproofing is that, in order to reach your ears, sound has to make molecules vibrate. That means sound waves have to travel through matter.

Does sound travel better through some kinds of matter than through others? This experiment will help you answer that question--and maybe even help you keep things quiet when you want to.

WHAT YOU NEED:

* wristwatch that ticks

* measuring tape

* wooden table

* long metal vacuum-cleaner tubes

* quiet room

* helper

WHAT TO DO:

1. Air: Have helper hold watch at a distance from which you cannot hear the ticking. Helper should then gradually move the watch closer to your ear. When you can just hear the tick, say "Stop." Measure the distance between your ear and the watch. Record in Data Table.

2. Wood: Lay the watch on a wooden table. Cover one ear and press the other to the table about 60 cm from the watch. Can you hear the ticking? Move closer to or farther from watch until you reach the greatest distance at which you can hear the ticking. Measure and record that distance.

3. Metal: Connect vacuum-cleaner tubes and lay them on the floor. Cover one of your ears and press the other against the side of one end of the vacuum-cleaner tube. Have helper hold the watch by the strap against tube at other end. Measure and record the greatest distance over which you can hear the ticking.

4. Design similar tests for whatever other materials you like.

DON'T STOP NOW!

Through which materials did the sound travel best? Which do you predict would make the best soundproofers? Try the next experiment to test your predictions.

THE SILENCE OF SOUNDS

WHAT YOU NEED:

* battery-run radio

* cardboard box with closing flaps

* sound-proofing test materials (try towels, blankets, wooden blocks, newspapers, what else?)

WHAT TO DO:

1. Turn on the radio to play music at high volume. Call this maximum loudness "10" in your Data Table.

2. Put radio in box and close flaps. How does the sound compare on your scale of 1 to 10?

3. Now, using your results from "The right stuff," predict which of your test materials will work best to reduce the loudness of the sound. Test your prediction by stuffing the box with each test material and rating the loudness each time.

DON'T STOP NOW!

Try the same experiment with your radio tuned to a talk show. Do you get the same results as before? What about when you tune in to your parents' favorite music?

Devise a way to use your most effective soundproofing material to soundproof your room.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes soundproofing experiment; Hands-On Science
Author:Kaner, Etta
Publication:Science World
Date:Feb 26, 1993
Words:467
Previous Article:No noise is good news.
Next Article:He takes hip-hop to heart.
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