An acoustic waveguide is a physical structure for guiding sound waves. An acoustic waveguide is a physical structure for guiding sound waves. One example might be a speaking tube used aboard ships for communication between decks.Other examples include the rear passage in a transmission line loudspeaker enclosure, the ear canal or a device like a stethoscope. The term also applies to guided waves in solids. A duct for sound propagation also behaves like a transmission line (e.g. air conditioning duct, car muffler, etc.). The duct contains some medium, such as air, that supports sound propagation. Its length is typically around a quarter of the wavelength which is intended to be guided, but the dimensions of its cross section are smaller than this. Sound is introduced at one end of the tube by forcing the pressure to vary in the direction of propagation, which causes a pressure gradient to travel perpendicular to the cross section at the speed of sound. When the wave reaches the end of the transmission line, its behaviour depends on what is present at the end of the line. There are three generalized scenarios: A low impedance load (e.g. leaving the end open in free air) will cause a reflected wave in which the sign of the pressure variation reverses, but the direction of the pressure wave remains the same. A load that matches the characteristic impedance (defined below) will completely absorb the wave and the energy associated with it. No reflection will occur.