When the Hulk claps it appears to generate enough force to send people flying. How does this work - is it wind due to the air being pushed out from between his hands, a sonic boom from the sound of the hands meeting, or something else entirely?

  • 8
    It takes a brave man to ask the Hulk about his clap.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 4, 2015 at 21:26
  • 5
    painful urination, discharge, and soreness in the affected area.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 10, 2015 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


It's the same thing that's so destructive with bombs and other explosions at close range, even without shrapnel. In effect, it causes a concussive wave (also called a shock wave).

Wikipedia explains it nicely.

A shock wave (also called shock front or simply "shock") is a type of propagating disturbance. Like an ordinary wave, it carries energy and can propagate through a medium (solid, liquid, gas or plasma) or in some cases in the absence of a material medium, through a field such as the electromagnetic field. Shock waves are characterized by an abrupt, nearly discontinuous change in the characteristics of the medium.1 Across a shock there is always an extremely rapid rise in pressure, temperature and density of the flow. In supersonic flows, expansion is achieved through an expansion fan. A shock wave travels through most media at a higher speed than an ordinary wave.

A sonic boom is another form of concussive wave, so yes, they are similar.

It's a different phenomena than wind, which involves a more steady movement of air.

A better analogy might be a comparison of a wave in the water to the flow of a stream. With a wave, the medium through which it travels doesn't move much. It's a bit easier to visualize the difference (at least for me.)

This article describes how waves work.

  • 1
    Ultra-Sonic boom is correct answer...
    – user931
    Apr 21, 2012 at 0:23

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