Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 19 - Think and Discuss: 94


The conical angle of a shock wave narrows down as a supersonic aircraft increases its speed.

Work Step by Step

This is discussed on page 367 and shown in Figure 19.20. Here is an alternative proof: an internet search for the term "Mach angle" shows that the sine of the cone's half-angle gives the ratio of the speed of sound to the speed of the plane. As the plane flies faster, the ratio decreases, so the half-angle must also be decreasing.
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