How… can voices shat­ter glass?

The Week - Junior - - Science And Technology -

Car­toons of an opera singer shat­ter­ing glass with their voice are com­mon, but can this hap­pen in real life? Ev­ery ma­te­rial nat­u­rally vi­brates; this is be­cause ev­ery­thing is made up of tiny par­ti­cles called atoms, and these atoms are con­stantly mov­ing. If a sound has the same vi­bra­tion as an ob­ject then the ob­ject will vi­brate more vi­o­lently. These vi­o­lent vibrations can cause glass to shat­ter. In 2005, a singer shat­tered glass by reach­ing 105 deci­bels (a unit mea­sur­ing sound’s in­ten­sity) on a TV show called Myth Busters. The singer’s tone and vol­ume vi­brated mol­e­cules in glass at just the right amount for it to break. This is eas­ier when singing into a mi­cro­phone, be­cause the tone and vol­ume can be con­trolled.

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