You are on page 1of 2

Mechanical Waves Qualitative Definition of Mechanical Waves any disturbance of a system which displaces the system from its

s equilibrium state and has the characteristic that the disturbance can propagate from one part of the system to another. a disturbance that travels through a material or a substance called the medium. Common Examples: Sound, light, ocean waves, radio and television transmission, earthquakes and more are all describable by the same mathematics which we refer to as wave mechanics medium, a material substance which is deformable and capable of transmitting a disturbance. Note: that electromagnetic waves do not need a medium - they travel through empty space. Kinds Of Mechanical Waves 1. 2. transverse wave - one in which the displacements of the medium are perpendicular or transverse to the direction of travel of the disturbance. Example: when you throw a rock into a pond. longitudinal wave - kind of wave is one in which the particles of the medium move back and forth along the direction the wave travels. Example: sound waves or a horizontal slinky in which one end is suddenly pushed

Note: that for such a wave, any particular particle will move transversely to the direction of motion of the wave itself, i.e. the wave might move with some velocity along a particular direction, but the particles making up the medium will move with simple harmonic motion back and forth along a direction perpendicular to the velocity direction. Kinetic and Potential Energy Imagine a string with mass per unit length, (L), which is stretched along the x axis as in figure A taut string is stretched from its equilibrium position at one point and then released. The displacement travels from the point of stretch and release as a traveling sinusoidal wave Wave Interference During the time when one wave passes through another we say that the waves interfere. It is really not correct to say that the waves collide or hit, although this is often how such an interaction is termed. Constructive Interference - when the crest of one wave passes through, or is super positioned upon, the crest of another wave, we say that the waves constructively interfere. Constructive interference also occurs when the trough of one wave is super positioned upon the trough of another wave. 2. Destructive Wave Interference - When the crest of one wave passes through, or is super positioned upon, the trough of another wave, we say that the waves destructively interfere. Standing Waves - is produced by two trains of waves traveling in opposite directions. - In a standing wave we can see points that never move at all. Nodes * midway between two nodes or point at greatest amplituted. Antinodes * the displacement of two identical waves gives a large resultant displacement. Standing Waves The term standing wave is often applied to a resonant mode of an extended vibrating object. The resonance is created by constructive interference of two waves which travel in opposite directions in the medium, but the visual effect is that of an entire system moving in simple harmonic motion. The sketches illustrate the fundamental and second harmonic standing waves for a stretched string. For example, the clarinet is acoustically a closed-end cylindrical air column because the mouthpiece end acts as a pressure antinode. An oboe is induced to produce its upper register by opening a hole near the mouthpiece, releasing pressure to make that point a pressure node and therefore a displacement antinode. Example 1. Two speakers are arranged so that sound waves with the same frequency are produced and radiate through the room. An interference pattern is created (as represented in the diagram at the right). The thick lines in the diagram represent wave crests and the thin lines represent wave troughs. Use the diagram to answer the next two questions. 1. At which of the labeled point(s) would constructive interference occur? a. B only b. A, B, and C c. D, E, and F d. A and B Sound Waves Sound and music are parts of our everyday sensory experience. A sound wave is similar in nature to a slinky wave for a variety of reasons. First, there is a medium which carries the disturbance from one location to another. Typically, this medium is air; though it could be any material such as water or steel. The medium is simply a series of interconnected and interacting particles. Second, there is an original source of the wave, some vibrating object capable of disturbing the first particle of the medium. The vibrating object which creates the disturbance could be the vocal chords of a person, the vibrating string and sound board of a guitar or violin, the vibrating tines of a tuning fork, or the vibrating diaphragm of a radio speaker. Third, the sound wave is transported from one location to another by means of particle-to-particle interaction. If the sound wave is moving through air, then as one air particle is displaced from its equilibrium position, it exerts a push or pull on its nearest neighbors, causing them to be displaced from their equilibrium position. 1.

Sound Waves The creation and propagation of sound waves are often demonstrated in class through the use of a tuning fork. A tuning fork is a metal object consisting of two tines capable of vibrating if struck by a rubber hammer or mallet. As the tines of the tuning forks vibrate back and forth, they begin to disturb surrounding air molecules. These disturbances are passed on to adjacent air molecules by the mechanism of particle interaction. The motion of the disturbance, originating at the tines of the tuning fork and traveling through the medium (in this case, air) is what is referred to as a sound wave. Sound Waves Sound consists of longitudinal waves in a medium. Human ear is sensitive to waves in the frequency range from about 20 to 20,000 Hz (Audible Range) Untrasonic frequencies above the audible range. Infrasonic frequencies below the audible range. Sound Properties and Their Perception Loudness refers to a listeners subjective perception of a sound sensation. Sound Properties and Their Perception 3 Ways musical tones differ: 1. 2. Intensity - the amount of energy which is transported past a given area of the medium per unit of time. Pitch and frequency - The sensation of a frequencies is commonly referred to as the pitch of a sound. Pitch enables to classify a note high or low. 3. The frequency of a wave refers to how often the particles of the medium vibrate when a wave passes through the medium. The frequency of a wave is measured as the number of complete back-and-forth vibrations of a particle of the medium per unit of time. 1 Hertz = 1 vibration/second Quality of a tone is determined in part by the number of overtones and their corresponding intensity distributions.

Since the range of intensities which the human ear can detect is so large, the scale which is frequently used by physicists to measure intensity is a scale based on multiples of 10. This type of scale is sometimes referred to as a logarithmic scale. The scale for measuring intensity is the decibel scale.

Musical Beats and Intervals beat frequency refers to the rate at which the volume is heard to be oscillating from high to low volume. Example 2. A tuning fork with a frequency of 440 Hz is played simultaneously with a fork with a frequency of 437 Hz. How many beats will be heard over a period of 10 seconds? The Doppler Effect and Shock Waves The Doppler effect is a phenomenon observed whenever the source of waves is moving with respect to an observer. Doppler effect can be described as the effect produced by a moving source of waves in which there is an apparent upward shift in frequency for the observer and the source are approaching and an apparent downward shift in frequency when the observer and the source is receding. Doppler effect can be observed to occur with all types of waves - most notably water waves, sound waves, and light waves. Explaining the Doppler Effect The Doppler Effect and Shock Waves The Doppler effect is observed because the distance between the source of sound and the observer is changing. It is important to note that the effect does not result because of an actual change in the frequency of the source. The source puts out the same frequency; the observer only perceives a different frequency because of the relative motion between them. The Doppler effect is a shift in the apparent or observed frequency and not a shift in the actual frequency at which the source vibrates. The Doppler effect is observed whenever the speed of the source is moving slower than the speed of the waves. But if the source actually moves at the same speed as or faster than the wave itself can move, a different phenomenon is observed. This phenomenon is known as a shock wave. Shock waves are also produced if the aircraft moves faster than the speed of sound. If a moving source of sound moves faster than sound, the source will always be ahead of the waves which it produces. The diagram at the right depicts snapshots in time of a variety of wave fronts produced by an aircraft which is moving faster than sound.

Prepare LW:

Topic Next Meeting

Assignment 1. Nature of Light. 2. Reflection and refraction 3. Laws of Reflection and Refraction 4. Dispersion 5. Polarization by Reflection 6. Scattering 7. Huygens Principle 8. Images formed by reflection 9. Images formed by refraction 10. Thin Lenses 11. Lens Equation