By Newman L. (ed.)

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Infrasonic vibrations: A rate of vibration below the range of human hearing, that is, below about 10 cycles per second. Longitudinal wave: A wave whose motion of vibration is in the direction of the wave’s advancement—the same direction in which the wave is traveling. Loudspeaker: A device to produce sounds from an electric current—by electrical and mechanical means—in the range of frequencies around the sonic range (that is produced by humans). is placed inside a jar from which all air has been removed.

It is even more abundant than uranium, ranking number 39 in abundance among the elements in Earth’s crust. No more than a few hundred tons of thorium are produced annually. About one-half of this production goes to the manufacture of gas mantles, insulated chambers in which fuel is burned. The rest goes for use as nuclear fuel, in sunlamps (electric lamps that emit radiation; often used for tanning), in photoelectric cells (vacuum tubes in which electric current flows when light strikes the photosensitive—or light sensitive—cathode), and in the production of other alloys (a mixture of two or more metals or a metal and a nonmetal).

One of the most important acoustical devices from the human point of view is the hearing aid. The hearing aid is a system consisting of miniature microphones, amplifiers, and loudspeakers that make it easier for people with hearing difficulties to understand sounds. One of the first large-scale industrial applications of acoustics was sonar. Sonar stands for the phrase sound navigation ranging. S. military during World War I (1914–18) for the detec2 2 U•X•L Encyclopedia of Science, 2nd Edition tion of submarines and continues to be an invaluable device for navies throughout the world.

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