Can You Photograph Sound? An Introduction to Schlieren Flow Visualization

Ever wonder what sound looks like? To many, that may sound impossible, but thanks to the science behind the Schlieren Flow Visualization it’s possible to photograph the movement of sound waves. These sound waves–not to be confused with the computer generated graphics we are all familiar with, travel at a speed of 761 mph—the speed of sound. Take a look at the video below for a detailed explanation:

Here is a graphic that depicts how we are able to photograph movement in the airwaves, thus creating sound waves, by using a a series of objects to reflect and divert the waves for the camera to be able to capture it.

photographing_sound_1

This results in a photograph, like the one below, which shows the sound waves created by a pair of clapping hands.

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You can see the ripple moving through the air around the mans hands… that is what sound looks like!

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