Research ArticlePHYSICS

Speed of sound from fundamental physical constants

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Science Advances  09 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 41, eabc8662
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc8662


  • Fig. 1 Experimental longitudinal speed of sound in 36 elemental solids (blue bullets) as a function of atomic mass.

    The solid line is the plot of Eq. 10: v=vuA12. The red diamond shows the upper bound of the speed of sound (Eq. 9). The dashed line is the fit to the experimental data points. In order of increasing mass, the solids are as follows: Li, Be, B, C, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, K, Ti, Mn, Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, Zn, Ge, Y, Nb, Mo, Pd, Ag, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Ta, W, Pt, Au, Tl, Pb, Bi, Th, and U.

  • Fig. 2 Experimental longitudinal speed of sound in 124 solids (circles) and 9 liquids (diamonds) at ambient conditions as a function of the system number.

    Solids are as follows: Al, Be, brass, Cu, duralumin, Au, Fe, Pb, Mg, diamond, Ni, Pt, Ag, steel, Sn, Ti, W, Zn, fused silica, Pyrex glass, Lucite, polyethylene, polyesterene, WC, B, Mo, NaCl, RbCl, RbI, Tl, Li, Na, Si, S, K, Mn, Co, Ge, Y, Nb, Mo, Pd, Cd, In, Sb, Ta, Bi, Th, U, LiF, LiCl, BeO, NH4H2PO4, NH4Cl, NH4Br, NaNO3, NaClO3, NaF, NaBr, NaBrO3, NaI, Mg2SiO4, α-Al2O8, AlPO4, AlSb, KH2PO4, KAl(SO4)2, KCl, KBr, KI, CaBaTiO3, CaF2, ZnO, α-ZnS, GaAs, GaSb, RbF, RbBr, Sr(NO3)2, SrSO4, SrTiO3, AgCl, AgBr, CdS, InSb, CsCl, CsBr, CsI, CsF, Ba(NO3)2, BaF2, BaSO4, BaTiO3, TlCl, Pb(NO3)2, PbS, apatite, aragonite, barite, beryl, biotite, galena, hematite, garnet, diopside, calcite, cancrinite, α-quartz, corundum, labradorite, magnetite, microcline, muscovite, nepheline, pyrite, rutile, staurolite, tourmaline, phlogopite, chromite, celestine, zircon, spinel, and aegirite. Liquids are as follows: mercury, water, acetone, ethanol, ethylene, benzene, nitrobenzene, butane, and glycerol. See (1820) for system specifications, including density and symmetry groups.

  • Fig. 3 Calculated speed of sound in atomic hydrogen as a function of pressure (top) and density (bottom).

    The dashed line shows the upper bound vu in Eq. 9.

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