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15th December, 2011

IB Higher Physics

Lab Report Velocity of Sound Using a


Resonance Tube
Data Collection and Processing
Raw Data Table
Frequency
(Hz)
256.0
288.0
341.3
384.0
480.0

1st trial
31.3
27.4
23.1
21.1
16.0

Length of tube (cm)


2nd trial
3rd trial
30.8
31.0
27.5
27.3
23.3
23.3
21.0
20.9
16.4
16.3

0.5 cm
4th trial
31.1
27.4
23.2
21.0
16.0

5th trial
31.0
27.6
23.1
21.1
16.4

Uncertainties Explained
The uncertainties of the tuning forks are unknown because they werent
given. The uncertainty of the length is measured by ruler, so it is half the
limit of reading: 0.5 cm .
Comments
The values are very accurate, which is good for my results later. This
experiment may be quite reliable to find the velocity.
Processed Data Table
Frequency Time period (s) Average length
l (m)
(Hz)
0.310 0.003
256.0
0.00391
0.274 0.002
288.0
0.00347
0.232 0.001
341.3
0.00293
0.210 000.1
384.0
0.00260
0.162 0.002
480.0
0.00208
Average velocity ( m s

Wavelength
(m)
1.24
0.01

Velocity (
m s1
318
3 )

1.098 0.008

316 2

0.928 0.004

316 1

0.841 0.004

323 2

0.649 0.008

311 4

317 6

Calculations
Since its the first harmonic in a closed tube, the wavelength =4 l
4 0.3104 m=1.242 m (I used the exact value of l for accuracy)
E.g.:
For the velocity, I used the formula v =f .
0. 310 m 124.2 Hz=318 ms-1
E.g.:

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15th December, 2011

IB Higher Physics

I changed decimal place of the uncertainties to make them same as the


values.
The uncertainty of the average length is (max-min)/2. E.g.:
31.3 m30.8 m
=0.003 m
2
The uncertainty of the wavelength was simply the uncertainty of
multiplied by 4. E.g.:

0.003 m 4=0.001 m
And lastly, the uncertainty of the velocity is the percentage error of
multiplied by the value of the velocity. E.g.:

0.01m
1
1
318 m s =0.03 ms
1.24 m
Graph (1/frequency against wavelength)
1.4
1.2

f(x) = 317.33x

1
0.8

Wavelength (m)

0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0

Time period (s)

Since the equation is v =f , =v 1/f we have to plot against 1/f


which is the time period. The program Microsoft Office Excel calculated
the equation of the graph y=317.33 x . The gradient is /T =f =317.33 ,
meaning the velocity is 317.33 m s1 . The best fit line goes through the
origin, and the errors for the wavelength are too small to be visible and

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IB Higher Physics

15th December, 2011

the frequency has no uncertainties (as well as time period). Therefore


maximum and minimum gradients cant be drawn.

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15th December, 2011

IB Higher Physics

Conclusion and Evaluation


Conclusion
The graph supports the theory that velocity of sound is 317 ms-1 as we
can see from the graph. And in fact, my values are pretty close to the
literal value, which is 340.29 ms-1. We dont have any obvious outliers,
but we have one point which doesnt touch the best fit line. It still doesnt
affect the best fit line, so we shouldnt really bother removing it.
Evaluation
My conclusion is pretty reasonable, since its supported by evidence. From
v =f
the formula of speed we have:
1
=v
f
where v is the slope of the graph, making v =317.33 m s-1 . As we can
see the points are all in one line and the values are very accurate, making
my data reliable.
The only controlled variables were frequency, temperature and air
pressure. It was pretty simple to keep them constant. The temperature
was just room temperature, as well as air pressure. They stayed the same,
since we didnt carry out the experiment for hours. And the frequencies of
the tuning forks were given already, so they couldnt be changed. The
equipment itself was quite simple (we just used a cylinder with water and
a tube), yet reliable because the difference in loudness of the sound was
pretty obvious. The only problem was that I could also hear the tuning
forks of my classmates, which confused me a bit. It was easy to make
many measurements, because it didnt take long at all and wasnt
inconvenient.
Improvements
The only improvement Id make is to be in a quiet room all by myself, so I
really know if it is my tuning fork which is getting louder. Being with others
in a room didnt really make my values inaccurate; it just confused me,
taking part of my time.

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