Lab.

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Lab.

© All Rights Reserved

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You are on page 1of 6

Waves on a String

Page 1 of 6

Name:

Date:

Group Members:

Objective:

To investigate the relationship between the elastic and inertial properties of a material and

the tension produced by a hanging mass to predict the frequency of an applied driving

force by analysis of the standing wave state of the system.

Theory:

The rate of energy propagation in a stretched string is described by the propagation speed:

FTension ( N )

v propagatio n (m / s )

(kg / m)

So, as the force applied to the string varies, so does the wave speed. Furthermore, the speed

of any wave in any medium follows the relationship given by:

v propagatio n (m / s ) (m) f ( s 1 )

Table Clamps

Mass Hanger

Function Generator

Strings

Setup and Procedure:

Pulley

Threaded Rod

Slotted Mass Set

Banana Leads

2 Meter Stick

Physics 197:

Waves on a String

Page 2 of 6

Please note that each loop is half of a wavelength when making your measurements

Part I:

1) Use the orange string. Measure the total length and the mass of the string to determine

the linear mass density of the material. Record these values in the data table.

2) With the system set up as shown in the diagram, load the 50 g mass hanger with 950 g

of mass, making a total of 1 kg.

3) Carefully measure the distance from the oscillator contact point to the pulley. Record

this in the data table.

4) Set the function generator to ~95 Hz. This should produce 3 loops in the string

between the oscillator and the pulley. You may need to adjust this frequency in order to

obtain loops of maximum amplitude.

5) Once the maximum amplitude condition has been met, record the frequency displayed

on the function generator dial in the data table. Do not change the frequency for the

remainder of part I.

6) Remove mass from the mass hanger until four loops appear between the oscillator

and the pulley. You may need to remove mass in as little as 5 g increments to obtain the

maximum amplitude condition. Do not adjust the frequency generator

7) Continue to adjust the hanging mass to obtain the five, six and seven loop conditions.

Record the mass used for each system state in the data table. Try to be as accurate as

possible.

Data:

Total Length of Orange String (m)

Total Mass of Orange String (kg)

Oscillator Frequency (Hz)

Linear Mass Density (kg/m)

Number of Loops

Wavelength (m)

Tension (N)

2 (m2)

3

4

5

6

7

Show a sample calculation with units for each value in the data table in the space below:

Physics 197:

Analysis:

Waves on a String

Page 3 of 6

Either by hand, or using Excel or a similar program, prepare a scatter plot of the tension as

a function of the square of the wavelength, T (2). The graph should be as close to a full

page as possible. You must prepare your own best-fit line to the data. You may not use

Excel for anything other than preparing the graph.

1) Using your graph, determine the magnitude and units of the slope of the data set.

2) Using this information, write the experimental equation describing the line produced

by your data set, with proper units.

3) By using the two theoretical equations provided, derive a third equation that relates the

tension in the string to the wavelength of the standing wave that results.

4) By comparison of the equations from steps 2) and 3), determine the frequency of the

standing wave from the slope of your graph. Label the result as fcalculated.

% Difference

2 f calculated f equipment

f calculated f equipment

* 100

Physics 197:

Waves on a String

Page 4 of 6

1) Using the orange string, find a combination of tensions and frequencies that produce a

single loop. Record these values in the data table.

2) Change the frequency of the oscillator until you achieve a two loop pattern on the

string.

3) Continue to adjust the frequency to add additional loops. Try to produce as many

loops as you can, but in no case should you stop taking data until you have achieved

the six loop condition.

Data:

Initial Tension (N)

Number of Loops

1

2

3

4

5

6

Analysis:

Frequency (Hz)

Using your data, try to determine a relationship between the frequency of the oscillator and

the number of loops produced by the system by plotting the frequency as a function of

number of loops. Consider the number of antinodes (loops) present in the system as a

function of frequency and compare your results to the textbook equation. Comment on

similarities and/or differences. Does f n nf 1 where f 1 is the fundamental harmonic?

1) Use the slope of the graph developed in part I to calculate the linear mass

density of the string.

2) Calculate the percent difference between the direct measurement of mass per

length and the mass per length derived from the slope and data.

Physics 197:

Waves on a String

Page 5 of 6

Physics 197:

Waves on a String

Page 6 of 6

Conclusion: Briefly discuss the physics involved in the experiment, summarize the data, address

potential sources of error and methods to reduce or eliminate them, and state whether or

not the experimental results validate the theory.

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