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Speed of Sound in an Ideal Gas

The wave speed of a fluid is equivalent to the speed of sound in the same medium, whether liquid or gas.

The speed of sound is calculated from the *Newton-Laplace equation*: where c = speed of sound, K = bulk modulus or stiffness coefficient, ρ = density.

For an ideal gas, the bulk modulus K = * P where (gamma) = adiabatic index or isentropic expansion factor, P = pressure.

The isentropic expansion factor is the ratio of specific heats of a gas at constant pressure and constant volume (i.e. Cp / Cv). For air, this ratio is approximately 1.4 when assumed to be ideal and at 0°C.

Therefore for an ideal gas, the wave speed is given as:

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