How does it work? - Sonar

How does it work? - Sonar

This animation demonstrates how sonar works.

Technology

Keywords

sonar, sound navigation and ranging, radar, voice navigation, reconnaissance, research ship, watercraft, mapping, side-scan sonar, object detection, ultrasound, sound wave, radar echo, radar wave, wave, echo, reflection, seabed, underwater, submarine, vibration, mechanics, technology, physics

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Scenes

The word "sonar" is an acronym for SOund NAvigation and Ranging. The operating principle of the sonar is similar to that of the radar, but it uses sound waves instead of radio waves.

In general, the sonar is used underwater, where sound waves travel faster and about 500 times further than in the air. The sonar unit emits sound waves and measures the time it takes for the echo to return. It can thus calculate the distance of underwater obstacles or the depth of the seafloor.

If the sound wave emitted is concentrated into a beam, it can be used to scan the sea floor in detail, making the contours of even small objects recognizable. The sonar can also be used to survey the state of marine archeological sites and underwater pipelines.

In most cases, it is ultrasound that is used to scan the sea floor. Ultrasound waves have frequencies higher than 20 kHz. The higher the frequency of the sound wave emitted, the more detailed the image of the seafloor. However, a higher frequency also means that the range of the sonar is shorter. This is why the side-scan sonar is often used. This device can be lowered deep into the water from a survey boat or a helicopter and towed close to the seafloor. The side-scan sonar emits fan-shaped beams to scan the sea floor. As it is towed, it creates a series of detailed images of its surroundings, which can then be assembled to produce a map.

Narration

The word "sonar" is an acronym for SOund NAvigation and Ranging. The operating principle of the sonar is similar to that of the radar, but it uses sound waves instead of radio waves.

In general, the sonar is used underwater, where sound waves travel faster and about 500 times further than in the air. The sonar unit emits sound waves and measures the time it takes for the echo to return. It can thus calculate the distance of underwater obstacles or the depth of the seafloor.

If the sound wave emitted is concentrated into a beam, it can be used to scan the sea floor in detail, making the contours of even small objects recognizable. The sonar can also be used to survey the state of marine archeological sites and underwater pipelines.

In most cases, it is ultrasound that is used to scan the sea floor. Ultrasound waves have frequencies higher than 20 kHz. The higher the frequency of the sound wave emitted, the more detailed the image of the seafloor. However, a higher frequency also means that the range of the sonar is shorter. This is why the side-scan sonar is often used. This device can be lowered deep into the water from a survey boat or a helicopter and towed close to the seafloor. The side-scan sonar emits fan-shaped beams to scan the sea floor. As it is towed, it creates a series of detailed images of its surroundings, which can then be assembled to produce a map.

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