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De La Salle University-Dasmariñas College of Science Physical Sciences Department

PHYS204L Waves, Sounds and Optics Laboratory

Mr. Emmanuel T. Santos

Assignment #1: Applications of Physics in Wind, String and Optical Instruments

Submitted by: RIVERA, Camille Anne M. CYS: HUB34

Date: June 20, 2013


Wind Instruments a. Flute Sound is produced from a flute by blowing onto a sharp edge, causing air enclosed in a tube to vibrate. The lower notes of a flute are obtained by opening holes in the side of the instrument to shorten the air column, raising the fundamental frequency of the open air column. Holes can also serve as register holes. When the desired wavelength is short (i.e. for high notes) one can open a register hole at a different fraction of the length. To achieve higher notes, one may force the air column to sound its second harmonic, up an octave from the fundamental. The player can also make "fine tuning" adjustments by control of the air stream from the lips. The pitch can be lowered slightly by aiming the air in a downward direction into the embouchure hole, and raised slightly by aiming the airstream higher so that it crosses over the embouchure hole. b. Trumpet The three valves of the trumpet add lengths of tubing to the instrument to lower the pitch. The first valve lowers it by a whole tone, the second by a semitone, and the third by a minor third. When a trumpet valve is up, the air goes straight through, and when it is depressed, a different air path is opened which adds a section of tubing. The length to add for the three valve intervals is calculated by using the fact that the frequency of an air column is inversely proportional to length. A trumpet exhibits natural resonant frequencies which follow a harmonic sequence fairly closely up to the tenth harmonic. This harmonic sequence is obtained with the help of the bell effect and the mouthpiece effect on the resonances. A unique pedal tone can be played in addition to the resonant frequencies. c. Saxophone The saxophone is louder than other woodwinds. This loudness comes at a price: it tends to limit the natural playing range. The bore of the saxophone is almost a cone, but the angle of the cone is larger than that of the oboe or bassoon. This means that it radiates sound better from the bell, particularly at high frequencies. However, because those high frequency waves are well radiated, they are not so well reflected at the bell, and the resonances of the instrument are relatively weak at high frequencies. The instrument tends to play at the frequency of the lowest resonance. A register hole (octave key) serves to weaken the lowest resonance and allows players to play the second resonance of the instrument bore. The standard range (less than three octaves, from (written) A#3 to about F#6) uses just the first two resonances. Higher resonances exist, but they are weak and it takes considerable expertise and experience to play them.


String Instruments a. Guitar A guitar string is a common example of a string fixed at both ends which is elastic and can vibrate. The vibrations of such a string are called standing waves, and they satisfy the relationship between wavelength and frequency that comes from the definition of waves:v = fλ, where v is the speed of the wave, f is the frequency (measured in cycles/second or Hertz, Hz) and λ is the wavelength. The speed v of waves on a string depends on the string tension T and linear mass density (mass/length) µ, measured in kg/m. Waves travel faster on a tighter string and the frequency is therefore higher for a given wavelength. On the other hand, waves travel slower on a more massive string and the frequency is therefore lower for a given wavelength. The relationship between speed, tension and mass density is a bit difficult to derive, but is a simple formula: v = T/µ b. Harp The harp player plucks a string and it vibrates at a certain frequency, depending on the length of the string. The shorter the string, the higher the pitch. The volume can be determined on how hard the string is plucked. The harp is made of wood because wood resonates well. A pedal can be attached in order to make each string higher by shortening it by a certain amount. A triangular-shaped harp, without the curve in the upper frame, gives only a linear growth in string length, not an exponential one. The curve in the top of the frame allows the lengths of the strings to grow exponentially as far as this is feasible. So for the shortest strings, they can have the same tension, be made of the same stuff, and be about equally spaced along the frame. The curvature in the frame and the type of string changes to keep the frequency dropping exponentially and so allow more octaves. c. Violin The strings themselves make hardly any noise: they are thin and slip easily through the air without making much of disturbance - and a sound wave is a disturbance of the air. An electric violin or an electric guitar played without an amplifier makes little noise. It is the bridge and body of the acoustic violin that transmit some of the vibration of the strings into sound in the air. The bridge transfers some of the energy of vibration of the string to the body of the violin. This is one of the reasons for the bright timbre of the violin. The treble foot of the bridge couples the vibrations of the plates. The body: the front and back plates, the sides and the air inside - all serve to transmit the vibration of the bridge into vibration of the air around the instrument. For this, the violin needs a relatively large surface area so that it can push a reasonable amount of air backwards and forwards. The belly and back plates are made so that they can easily vibrate up and down.


Optical Instruments a. Camera A still film camera is made of three basic elements: an optical element (the lens), a chemical element (the film) and a mechanical element (the camera body itself). As we'll see, the only trick to photography is calibrating and combining these elements in such a way that they record a crisp, recognizable image. The optical component of the camera is the lens. At its simplest, a lens is just a curved piece of glass or plastic. Its job is to take the beams of light bouncing off of an object and redirect them so they come together to form a real image -- an image that looks just like the scene in front of the lens. As light travels from one medium to another, it changes speed. Light travels more quickly through air than it does through glass, so a lens slows it it enters the glass at an angle, it bends in one direction. It bends again when it exits the glass because parts of the light wave enter the air and speed up before other parts of the wave. In a standard converging, or convex lens, one or both sides of the glass curves out. This means rays of light passing through will bend toward the center of the lens on entry. In a double convex lens, such as a magnifying glass, the light will bend when it exits as well as when it enters. A converging lens takes those rays and redirects them so they are all converging back to one point. At the point where the rays converge, you get a real image. b. Telescope The astronomical telescope makes use of two positive lenses: the objective, which forms the image of a distant object at its focal length, and the eyepiece, which acts as a simple magnifier with which to view the image formed by the objective. Its length is equal to the sum of the focal lengths of the objective and eyepiece, and its angular magnification is -fo /fe , giving an inverted image.The astronomical telescope can be used for terrestrial viewing, but seeing the image upside down is a definite inconvenience. Viewing stars upside down is no problem. Another inconvenience for terrestrial viewing is the length of the astronomical telescope, equal to the sum of the focal lengths of the objective and eyepiece lenses. c. Microscope A compound microscope uses a very short focal length objective lens to form a greatly enlarged image. This image is then viewed with a short focal length eyepiece used as a simple magnifier. The image should be formed at infinity to minimize eyestrain. The general assumption is that the length of the tube L is large compared to either fo or fe so that the following relationships hold. In a working microscope, the length L in the sketch above is much longer than either of the lens focal lengths fo and fe.