Phenomena

When Walls Chirp

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If you’ve ever clapped near a wall with a corrugated surface, you may have noticed some strange echoes. Surfaces like these can cause a chirping sound to observers. The reason, as Nick Moore explains in the video above, is that the original sound reflects off the corrugations at different times and travels back to the observer such that the first reflections to arrive are closely spaced (and thus higher pitched) while the later reflections are spread further out. This creates a chirp that starts at a high pitch and then falls to lower ones. Have you ever come across structures that do this? (Video credit: N. Moore)

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