Which of The Following Does Not Travel in a Vacuum?

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If you are studying the vacuum, then you might be interested to know which things cannot travel through a vacuum. You might already know that there are some forms of forces or waves that can travel through a vacuum where some others can’t.

In this article, we will let you know about different forms of energy or force that are unable to move them through a vacuum space. Keep going through the article to find these out.

Which of The Following Does Not Travel in a Vacuum?

A vacuum is a space where there is no matter. Our universe is filled with matters. Even the empty space we see is made of air. As a result, there is nothing really empty here. The word vacuum arrived from the Latin adjective vacuus which stands for vacant or void. On the other way, when a pressure of a region is much less than the atmospheric, it is a vacuum.  Now let’s talk about which of the following things does travel in a vacuum.

Sound Waves

One of the most common examples of things that don’t work in a vacuum is the sound wave. You might already know that sound waves work as vibration. They vibrate the medium to travel from one place to another. As an example, the ripple when you through in the water can be a great example of how sound waves move through the air. When you through the ripple in the center of the pond, the waves spread gradually.

What really happens here is the one wave is created when you threw a stone in the water. The wave then vibrates the particles of the water next to it. This way the waves widespread through the whole pond. The same thing happens when you produce a sound. It vibrates the air particles and then the pressure of vibration vibrates the next particles. This way sound travels from one place to another.

Why Sound Waves Cannot Travel Through Vacuum?

As you might already know, there are no matter or no particles in the vacuum. As a result, when you produce a sound, there is no way by which the sound can be transmitted from one point to another in a vacuum. Hence, sound waves don’t travel through the vacuum. Now you might wonder why light can pass through the vacuum when the sound cannot. That is because they are completely two different forms of energy.

Sound consists of vibrations while light consists of photon particles. Sound can travel as both waves and the tiny particles known as photons and they don’t even require a medium for traveling. Hence, they can travel through both solid-state and the vacuum state. This is how the light can travel through the vacuum when the soundwave cannot.

Seismic Waves

You might already know that the sound wave can travel through the vacuum but not about the seismic waves. Just like the lights, the Seismic waves cannot travel through the vacuum. At first, let’s understand what is Seismic waves. It is a variation of waves of energy that pass through the earth’s layers. The waves produce in some specific conditions which include earthquakes, magma movement, volcanic eruptions, and large manmade explosions.

Some of the other natural calamities can produce the wave which is known as low-amplitude waves. There are different things used to record the seismic wavefields including the seismometer, accelerator, and hydrophone.

The range and velocity of the seismic wave mainly depend on the medium. To be more specific, it will depend on the elasticity and the density of the medium it is passing through. Sometimes, it also depends on the variation of the seismic wave. The velocity of the seismic wave increases in-depth, specifically in the earth’s mantle and crust. But it drops when going through the mantle of the outer core.

There are different types of seismic waves. Such as the body waves which travel through the inner part of the earth. Then there are the surface waves that travel across the surface. There are also some other variations of the waves including the private waves, secondary waves, Rayuleigh waves, Love waves, Stoneley waves, Normal modes, etc.

Why Seismic Waves Cannot Travel Through Vacuums?

Just like Sound Waves, Seismic waves are another variation of mechanical waves. The waves that require a medium to travel are known as mechanical waves. Just like the sound waves, the seismic waves also move as vibration. Now you might wonder whether seismic waves can travel through the air. The answer is yes, they can travel through air but when they travel through the air, they take the form of sound waves.

When the seismic waves travel through the vacuum, you can actually feel it. Take the earthquake as an example, which is a perfect variation of the seismic wave. When the earthquake happens, you can feel the vibration that is creating on the surface of the earth.

The seismic waves cannot travel through a vacuum. That is because in the vacuum there are no particles in the vacuum atmosphere which can move the vibrations from one end to another.

All Forms of Mechanical Waves

In the above, we have discussed two variations of the mechanical waves which are the sound waves and the seismic waves. There are actually some other variations of the mechanical waves. These include transverse, longitudinal, surface waves, water waves, spring waves, etc. Basically, all the things that pass through vibration waveforms are mechanical waves. They need particles to move from one point to another.

As there are no particles in the vacuum, the mechanical waves cannot travel through the vacuum. The opposite of mechanical waves is electromagnetic waves. Some of the examples are visible light, x-ray, radio waves, ultraviolet, and much more.


If you are wondering about the things that don’t travel in a vacuum, we hope that this article will help you to know them. Finally, we can say that mechanical waves cannot travel in a vacuum.

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