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Question

Why are sound wave are called mechanical wave

 


Solution

Sound waves are mechanical waves because they need a material medium for propagation, like air or liquids like water, or metals like silver. That is the defining criterion for a mechanical wave, and the answer to your question.

The other type of waves, called electromagnetic waves (like light) do not need a material medium to travel, and can even go through vacuum.

When traveling through air, sound waves propagate in the form of pressure variations wherein high-pressure regions called compressions alternate with low pressure regions called rarefactions.

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