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If the source of the waves is a simple harmonic oscillator, the function f(x vt) is sinusoidal and

it represents a harmonic wave train or simply, a travelling harmonic wave. When such a wave

passes through a given region, the particles of the medium execute simple harmonic motion.

When such a wave passes through a given region, the particles of the medium execute simple

harmonic motion.

The wave function that represents a harmonic wave is given by

y = A sin [k(x vt)]

or

y = A sin (kx t)

(5)

The negative sign is used when the wave travels along the positive x axis, and vice-versa.

The term k is called the wave number which is defined as

where is called the wavelength. It is the distance between the two successive points with the

same phase (for example, two crests).

The term is called the angular frequency (measured in rad/s)

Time Period (T)

The time period for a point on the string is the time taken to complete one cycle of its periodic

motion. It is exactly the same time that it takes for one wavelength to pass the point.

Frequency ( f )

The number of complete vibrations of a point on the string that occur in one second or, the

number of wavelengths that pass a given point in one second.

Wave velocity (v)

Since in one period T the wave advances by one wavelength l, therefore, the wave velocity is

Amplitude (A)

The maximum displacement of a particle on the medium from the equilibrium position

IMPORTANT

1. The photograph of a travelling harmonic wave at a given instant (as shown in

Fig. 5 a) shows that the displacement of various points on the string follows

a sine curve.

y = A sin kx

(9)

2. If we focus our attention on a particular particle of the string, we find that its

displacement also follows a sinusoidal function with respect to time as shown

in the

Fig.(5 b).

y = A sin t

(10)

y = A sin (kx t + )

(11)

where is the initial phase constant. It determines the initial displacement of the particle when

x = 0 and t = 0. The positive and negative value of f are shown in (Fig. 6).

Wave velocity is the velocity of the disturbance which propagates through a medium. It only

depends on the properties of the medium and is independent of time and position.

Particle velocity is the rate at which particles displacement vary as a function of time, i.e.

velocity of a particle of the medium (yt) is shown in the Fig.( 7).

The acceleration of the particle is obtained by differentiating equation (12) w.r.t. time

The above equation shows that acceleration of a particle is directly proportional to its

displacement from the equilibrium position, i.e. the particles of the medium execute simple

harmonic motion.

Illustration2

The equation of a transverse wave in a stretched wire is given by y=2 sin 2(x30t0.01),

where t is in s and y in cm.

Find :

(a) amplitude

(b) frequency

(c) wavelength

Solution

Comparing the given equation with the standard equation (14.11),

(c) Wavelength = 30 cm

(d) Velocity of the wave v = f = 30 100 = 3000 cm/s = 3 m/s

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