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Section VII

East Tennessee State University

Edition 3.3

Abstract

These class notes are designed for use of the instructor and students of the course PHYS-2020:

General Physics II taught by Dr. Donald Luttermoser at East Tennessee State University. These

notes make reference to the College Physics, 9th Edition (2012) textbook by Serway and Vuille.

VII. Vibrations and Waves

A. Hookes Law.

by Hookes Law:

Fs = kx . (VII-1)

0) position.

b) k spring constant.

i) Stiff springs have large k values.

always directed opposite of the displacement of the mass.

is either pulled or pushed toward the equilibrium position.

x>0

F F<0

x

x=0

VII1

VII2 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

F=0

x

x=0

x<0

F F>0

x

x=0

harmonic motion (SHM).

motion is a Hookes Law type of force.

b) SHM when F x.

c) Terms of SHM:

i) Amplitude (A): Maximum distance traveled by

an object away from its equilibrium position.

to complete one cycle of motion.

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII3

time = f = 1/T .

(VII-1) becomes

Fs = kx = mg . (VII-2)

harmonic oscillator) is

F = kx = ma (VII-3)

or

k

a= x. (VII-4)

m

way & Vuille textbook: A load of 50 N attached to a spring

hanging vertically stretches the spring 5.0 cm. The spring is now

placed horizontally on a table and stretched 11 cm. (a) What force

is required to stretch the spring by this amount? (b) Plot a graph of

force (on the y axis) versus spring displacement from the equilibrium

position along the x axis.

Solution (a):

Here we have |Fg | = mg = 50 N and |y| = 5.0 102 m. The

first thing we need to do is to calculate the spring constant using

Eq. (VII-2) [and using y instead of x as the independent variable]

from the vertical stretch information:

Fs = Fg

ky = mg

mg 50 N

k = =

y 5.0 102 m

= 1.0 103 N/m .

VII4 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

direction with x = 0.11 m is

F = |Fs| = kx = (1.0 103 N/m)(0.11 m) = 110 N .

Solution (b):

Here, we are going to plot Fs versus x. Since Fs = kx, we

see that Fs varies linearly with respect to x with the slope of

the straight line being k = 1.0 103 N/m as shown in the

diagram below.

Fs (N)

1000

500

x (m)

-500

-1000

elastic material) is called elastic potential energy PEs:

1

PEs kx2 . (VII-5)

2

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII5

i f

Wnc = 0 and the conservation of energy results:

= constant (VII-7)

a) Assume the spring is horizontal (hi = hf = 0) and no

non-conservative forces are present (i.e., no friction):

i) (PEg )i = (PEg )f = 0, then

position and release from rest (v = 0).

i) KEi = 12 mvi2 = 0.

VII6 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

we can write

1 1 1

0 + kA2 = mv2 + kx2

2 2 2

and solving for v gives

v

k

u

u

v= t

(A2 x2 ) . (VII-8)

m

i) If x = A, then v = 0.

q

ii) If x = 0, then v = k/m A.

a) An orbit is analogous to a SHO cycle.

circumference of orbit 2R

vorbit = =

period of orbit T

2R 2A

T = = (R = amp. of orbit = A).

v v

c) The radius of the orbit is analogous to the position of a

SHO when passing through its equilibrium position, thus

2A

T = q .

A (k/m)

Note that only the + solution is used for velocity (Eq.

VII-8) since period is always positive. Simplifying gives

m

s

T = 2 . (VII-9)

k

quency is then v

1 1u

tk

u

f= = (VII-10)

T 2 m

= the unit of frequency is hertz (Hz) = 1/s.

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII7

textbook) is given by

x = A cos(t) . (VII-11)

b) In terms of frequency:

x = A cos(2f t) . (VII-12)

complicated using algebra. However with calculus, the derivation

is easy:

dx

v= = A sin(t) (VII-13)

dt

dv

a= = 2 A cos(t) . (VII-14)

dt

a) The velocity is 90 out of phase with displacement.

out of phase with displacement.

way & Vuille textbook: An object-spring system oscillates with

an amplitude of 3.5 cm. If the spring constant is 250 N/m and the

object has a mass of 0.50 kg, determine (a) the mechanical energy

of the system, (b) the maximum speed of the object, and (c) the

maximum acceleration.

Solution (a):

Since there are no non-conservative forces involved here, the ini-

tial mechanical energy = final mechanical energy = total me-

chanical energy. If we choose the maximum extension point as

VII8 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

v = 0. Since no information was given as to whether the spring

is positioned vertically or horizontally, we will assume it is hori-

zontal to make the problem easier. As such, set y = h = 0 and

PEg = 0 which gives the total mechanical energy as

1 1

E = KE + PEg + PEs = mv2 + mgy + kx2

2 2

1 1

= 0 + 0 + kA2 = (250 N/m)(0.035 m)2

2 2

= 0.15 J .

Solution (b):

The maximum speed occurs at the equilibrium position, x = 0:

1 1

E = KE + PEg + PEs = mv2 + mgy + kx2

2 2

1 2 1 2

= mv + 0 + 0 = mvmax

2 2

2 2E

vmax =

m

v v

u 2E u 2(0.15 J)

u u

vmax = t

=t

m 0.50 kg

= 0.77 m/s .

Solution (c):

The acceleration is simply found from Newtons 2nd law:

F kx

P

a= = .

m m

As can be seen from this equation, the acceleration will take on

its maximum value when x = xmax = A, so

k(A) kA (250 N/m)(0.035 m)

amax = = =

m m 0.50 kg

= 18 m/s2 .

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII9

C. Pendulum Motion.

a distance L from the pivot point. If the pendulum bob moves

degrees from the equilibrium position, we have

L

y

x

T

Ft m

s

mg

equilibrium

position

system which is centered on the moving bob with the

y axis pointing in the radial direction (i.e., towards the

pivot point) and the x axis pointing in the negative of the

tangential direction. Note that F~r F~t (i.e., the radial

force is perpendicular to the tangential force).

X

Ft = Fx = mg sin . (VII-15)

X

Fr = Fy = T mg cos = 0 , (VII-16)

VII10 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

the pivot point.

rium position.

a) Sets up an oscillation.

low F x = instead it follows F sin .

b) Mathematically we have

Ft = mg , ( small). (VII-18)

Physics I), so we also can write

mg

!

Ft = s , (s L). (VII-19)

L

i) Similar to Hookes Law, however k is replaced by

mg/L.

period of a pendulum as

m u m

s v

T = 2 = 2 t ,

u

k mg/L

or v

uL

u

T = 2 t . (VII-20)

g

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII11

oscillation) is independent of mass = Galileo showed

this empirically long before Newtons Laws were de-

veloped.

way & Vuille textbook: A man enters a tall tower, needing to

know its height. He notes that a long pendulum extends from the

ceiling almost to the floor and that its period is 15.5 s. (a) How tall

is the tower? (b) If this pendulum is taken to the Moon, where the

free-fall acceleration is 1.67 m/s2 , what is the period there?

Solution (a):

This problem is simple enough that we need no figure. Here, we

only have to use Eq. (VII-20) and solve for L, the length of the

pendulum (which is nearly the same length as the height of the

building as indicated in the question).

v

uL

u

T = 2 t

g

2

4 L

T2 =

g

gT 2 (9.80 m/s2 )(15.5 s)2

L = =

4 2 4 2

= 59.6 m .

Solution (b):

On the Moon, where g = 1.67 m/s2 , the period will be

v v

uL 59.6 m

u u

u

T = 2 t = 2 u = 37.5 s .

g 1.67 m/s2

t

VII12 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

D. Types of Waves.

1. Waves can either move in space (e.g., water waves), the so-called

traveling waves, or be stationary in an enclosure, the so-called

standing waves.

a) Lets define the y direction as the direction in which the

oscillation occurs (i.e., ymax = A, the amplitude of the

wave) and the x direction as the direction of propagation

(for traveling waves) or the length of the enclosure (for

standing waves). We also will define a node in the wave

as those positions where y = 0 (for a sine wave, this will

occur at 0 = 0 rad, 180 = rad, 360 = 2 rad, etc.)

only contain those standing waves that have an integer

number wavelengths that can fit inside the enclosure with

node points lying at the boundaries of the enclosure.

v = f , (VII-21)

crests) and f is the frequency (i.e., number of wavecrests

past a given point per second) of the wave.

along a medium too, and as such, is also considered a

traveling wave, even though it has no definite wavelength

associated with it. Examples of wave pulses are tsunami

(often incorrectly called tidal waves ) and shock waves.

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII13

a rope or water) that is disturbed moves perpendicular to

the wave motion as shown in the diagram below:

crest

+ trough

examples of transverse waves.

dergo displacements parallel to the direction of motion as

shown in the diagram below:

trough

compressed compressed

crest

v

uF

u

v= t , (VII-22)

where F = T is the tension on the string (or rope) and is the

mass per unit length of the string.

VII14 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

way & Vuille textbook: An astronaut on the Moon wishes to

measure the local value of g by timing pulses traveling down a wire

that has a large object suspended from it. Assume a wire of mass

4.00 g is 1.60 m long and has a 3.00 kg object suspended from it. A

pulse requires 36.1 ms to traverse the length of the wire. Calculate

gMoon from these data. (You may neglect the mass of the wire when

calculating the tension in it.)

Solution:

The given parameters (converted to SI units) are mw = 4.00

103 kg, L = 1.60 m, m = 3.00 kg, and t = 3.61 102 s. The

mass per unit length of the wire is

mw 4.00 103 kg

= = = 2.50 103 kg/m ,

L 1.60 m

and the speed of the pulse is

L 1.60 m

v= = = 44.3 m/s .

t 3.61 102 s

Using Eq. (VII-22), we can calculate the tension in the wire as

F = T = v2 = (44.3 m/s)2(2.50 103 kg/m) = 4.91 N .

Since we are not told that the mass is accelerating up or down, we

will assume that the tension of the wire is being counterbalanced

by the force of gravity downward, hence we will assume that the

mass is in static equilibrium. Then summing the forces in the y

direction gives:

X

Fy = T mgMoon = 0

mgMoon = T

T 4.91 N

gMoon = = = 1.64 m/s2 .

m 3.00 kg

Donald G. Luttermoser, ETSU VII15

1. Two waves can meet and pass through each other without being

destroyed or even altered.

a) We must add interacting waves together using the princi-

ple of superposition = If two or more traveling waves are

moving through a medium, the resultant wave is found by

adding together the displacements of the individual waves

point by point.

vidual waves have small amplitudes of displacement.

a) Constructive interference occurs if the waves are in

phase with each other = wavecrests line up with wave-

crests and troughs line up with troughs. This produces a

larger amplitude resultant wave which is the sum of the

amplitudes of the individual waves.

phase with each other = wavecrests line up with troughs

and troughs line up with crests which nullifies the wave

= a wave of zero amplitude results.

a) If the attached end of a string is fixed to the immovable

object (like a wall), a wave-pulse will become inverted

upon reflection.

movable object (e.g., string attached to a ring surround-

ing a pole where the ring is free to slide up and down the

VII16 PHYS-2020: General Physics II

(see Figures 13.34 and 13.35 of your textbook).

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