a asked in Science & MathematicsChemistry · 1 decade ago

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Why Does Inhaling Helium Make Your Voice Sound Funny?

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  • msc
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The speed of sound in helium is nearly three times the speed of sound in air. Because the fundamental frequency of a gas-filled cavity is proportional to the speed of sound in the gas, when helium is inhaled there is a corresponding increase in the pitches of the resonant frequencies of the vocal tract.[4][100] This causes a reedy, duck-like vocal quality. (The opposite effect, lowering frequencies, can be obtained by inhaling a dense gas such as sulfur hexafluoride.)

    Inhaling helium can be dangerous if done to excess, since helium is a simple asphyxiant and so displaces oxygen needed for normal respiration.[4][101] Breathing pure helium continuously causes death by asphyxiation within minutes. Inhaling helium directly from pressurized cylinders is extremely dangerous, as the high flow rate can result in barotrauma, fatally rupturing lung tissue.[101][102] However, death caused by helium is rare, with only two fatalities reported between 2000 and 2004 in the United States.[102] However there have been two cases in 2010, one in the USA[103] in January and another in Northern Ireland in November[104]

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    accent sing a monotonous song with a vocal tract full of helium. Check out http://www./ phys.unsw.edu.au/PHYSICS_!/SPEECH_HELIUM/speech.html. The fourth sound file is bound to be a Top 40 hit.

    Source(s): to much to type check site listed
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