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You are on page 1of 3

Rajesh Swaminathan

June 18, 2006

Aim

To verify the linear relationship between the length and the resonant frequency of an air column

in a closed tube and to determine the speed of sound in air.

Hypothesis

Given the accepted value for the speed of sound in pure air at 20 to be 343 m/s, I hypothesize

the calculated speed of our sound to be slightly higher than this, give the change in temperature.

Materials

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Set of tuning forks

Thermometer

1 L beaker

Rubber mallet

Data Collection

Trial

1

2

3

4

5

6

Frequency (Hz)

480.0

512.0

320.0

341.3

426.7

256.0

Length L(m)

0.167

0.152

0.257

0.241

0.188

0.326

1

Uncertainty in Frequency = 1%

Uncertainty in Length = 0.002m

Data Analysis

Trial

1

2

3

4

5

6

Frequency f (Hz)

480.0

512.0

320.0

341.3

426.7

256.0

1/f (Hz)

2.08103

1.95103

3.13103

2.93103

2.34103

3.91103

Length L (m)

0.167

0.152

0.257

0.241

0.188

0.326

From graph:

Slope = 88.364

Slope = v4

v = Slope4

v = 88.364 4

v = 353.5 m/s

Evaluation

From the above Data Analysis, the speed of sound in air is found to be approximately 353.5m/s.

The theoretical value for the speed of sound in pure air at 20

is 343m/s.

Percentage difference =

353.5343.0

343.0

= 3.06%

1. The lab was not conducted at 20 . There was a small change in temperature, and the speed

of sound in air varies with a change in temperature.

2. The temperature did not remain constant throughout the course of the experiment. Since the

speed of sound varies with temperature, it can be said that our results wouldnt be consistent

over a period of time.

3. The bottom end of the air column is closed by the water level. Since water is more dense

than air, the water surface represents (and only represents) a rigid wall. It is thus assumed

that the air molecules are so great confined at this end that they cannot vibrate. This is not

the case however. Not all waves reflect off the water barrier.

4. The tuning fork was not always held at the very top of the resonance tube. Most of the time,

the fork was held a few millimeters above the tip of the tube. This could have caused minor

modifications to our results.

v

), it was assumed that the displacement antinode occurs

5. In deriving the equation fn = n( 4L

exactly at the open end of the tubethis is not strictly true. When a compression reaches an

open end, it does not reach full rarefaction (expansion) until it passes somewhat beyond the

end. However, this can be compensated by accounting for a short distance dc in our above

equation. This dc turns out to be the y-intercept in our graph.

Our results are thus quite close to the accepted value for the speed of sound in air.

By taking advantage of our knowledge about resonance, and how resonance results in an increase

in amplitude, we were able to determine the length L of a tube that a sound of frequency f should

take in order to create a resonating vibration in the hollow tube.

Such a frequency at which resonance occurs is known as a natural frequency. It is also possible to

determine several natural frequencies by increasing the multiplication factor n. In this experiment,

however, we only studied the shortest air column length L required to create a resonating vibration

in the air column (ie. n = 1).

We also took advantage of the linear relationship between the length L of the air column and the

reciprocal of the frequency of the tuning fork 1/f to determine the slope of the graph thus obtained.

It was then possible to determine the speed of sound, because the slope equalled nothing but v4 ,

where v is the velocity of sound. This linear relationship between the length and the resonant

frequency of an air column in a closed tube has thus been verified.

Conclusion

In this lab, we were able to approximate the velocity of sound waves in air at a given temperature.

This was done quite modestly with the use of simple apparatus and some water. At resonance, the

amplitude of vibration at the open end of the tube increases to a maximum. This is heard as an

increase in sound intensity of the tuning fork. There is thus a definite linear relationship between

the length and the resonant frequency of an air column in a closed tube.

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