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Breaking The Sound Barrier


Breaking The Sound Barrier
The first time that magical speed of 1,225 kilometres (761 miles) per hour was breached dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. They are one of the first civilisations recorded as using a whip, which has been creating sonic booms for over 4,000 years.

Lifting a whip and bringing it down sharply causes a ripple to move down the length of the whip as it rises up then snaps back down. As the wave moves along, it gets faster as the whip gets thinner. This continues until it reaches the tip and the thinnest part of the whip. If you have done it right, by this point the wave is moving so fast that the tip breaks the sound barrier as it flicks up, creating that characteristic crack. Incidentally, the first human to travel faster than sound was US Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager as he flew an X-1 plane at Mach 1 – the speed of sound – in 1947.

Breaking The Sound Barrier