Overview of a Sonic Boom

A sonic boom sound is very similar to very loud thunder and caused by an object like an aircraft that moves faster than the speed of sound at approximately 750 or more miles per hour when at sea level. When an aircraft travel through air it continuously makes air-pressure wave which are more or less the same as the waves caused by a ship going through the waves. When aircrafts exceed speed of sound, pressure wave combine and the shock waves are formed.
When continues shock waves are formed it will drop a sonic boom along the flight path of the aircraft when it flies at supersonic speeds. From the aircraft’s perspective it will appear that the boom is swept backwards. The sound that we hear from the ground is what is called the sonic boom and it is the sudden onset and then pressure released after initial build-up of peak overpressure. The pressure change is a few pounds per square foot only, similar to the pressure change of a lift descending two or three floors. The sonic boom’s pressure just happens in a very shorter time frame and it is this magnitude of overpressure that perfectly describes a sonic boom.
A sonic boom comes in two different types of shock waves, namely, a U-wave and N-wave. U-wave is called a focused boom and generated by manoeuvred flights and the actual pressure wave has a U shape and they have positive shocks in front and back of the boom. The N-wave on the other hand is shaped like the letter N and is generated during steady flights from the aircraft. A N-wave starts with a front shock and peak overpressure is reached after linear decrease in pressure and rear shock turns to ambient pressure.

Related News

Futuristic biplane design eliminates sonic boom

A throwback to early 20th Century aviation may hold the… more

What causes a sonic boom

You can learn a lot about sonic booms by looking… more