Can a sonic boom be neutralized by through massive acceleration into the sound barrier?

573 views

A theory came up at a party one night and it is worth checking. I found this explanation on another thread.

Imagine a tiny, bouncing ball on the surface of a pond, with ripples spreading outwards from it. The ripples always travel at the same speed, regardless of what the ball is doing. When it’s still, the ripples spread out evenly in every direction. But if the ball starts moving slowly across the pond, the ripples in front of it will be closer together than the ones behind it.

Now, if the ball moves exactly at the speed of the ripples, then the ripples at the leading edge can’t get away from the ball and dissipate – they just accumulate, so all that energy is concentrated along a single, massive leading ripple.

My question is if the ball was capable of massive acceleration in a very short time like a warp drive and could drag an equal amount of energy into the leading edge of the ripple will it neutralize the sonic boom and make it collapse.

If I’m wrong, it would probable create a massive explosion, but it came up at a party one night and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

In: Physics

You’re describing the breaking of the sound barrier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_barrier

I’m not understanding your Warp example.

What you’re describing with the ball and the ripples *is* the shockwave that we hear as a sonic boom. What your saying doesn’t make any sense and I have no idea why you’re talking about warp drives which are completely fiction devices for traveling faster than light and have nothing to do with supersonic flight. It seems like you’re asking if you can “neutralize” a sonic boom by going really fast? The answer to that is no, obviously.

There is a common misconception that the sonic boom is only made as the aircraft goes through the sound barrier – really the sonic boom is being continuously created by the wake (you actually did a pretty good job of explaining how sonic booms form). We hear it as a single boom as the aircraft moves past, but everyone along the path of the aircraft would also hear a boom.

So the simple answer to your question is no I’m afraid. Work is being done to reduce sonic booms, but the focus of this is on the geometry of the aircraft and not on the development of warp drives I’m sorry to report.

Here’s a a link to some further reading if you’re interested [https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-supersonic-technology-designed-to-reduce-sonic-booms](https://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-supersonic-technology-designed-to-reduce-sonic-booms)

there is a diagram on this page which shows quite nicely that the sonic boom is present at all points along the aircraft’s path, the boom following along behind the aircraft. [https://interestingengineering.com/a-sonic-boom-is-captured-on-camera-for-the-first-time-ever](https://interestingengineering.com/a-sonic-boom-is-captured-on-camera-for-the-first-time-ever)

edit: this is a better link than the second one: [http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/shock-waves.htm](http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/shock-waves.htm) with an animation that shows the sonic boom trailing the aircraft on the ground