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Normal Modes of Continuous

Systems
Free Vibrations of Stretched Strings
Terminology:

Points at which the displacement is zero at all times: Nodes

Positions of maximum displacement: Anti-nodes
u+du
u
T
T
x x+dx
y
Waves on a string:
Linear mass density =
Both ends fixed
For a short segment of the string, the net force
acting on the segment is:
u u u sin ) sin( T T F
y
A + =
u u u cos ) cos( T T F
x
A + =
Assume that the y displacements are very small, so
that the angles are also small.
u A ~ T F
y
0 =
x
F
y
a x T ) ( A = A u
x
y
c
c
= u tan
x
x
y
A
c
c
= A
2
2
2
sec u u
Since the angle is small, secu ~ 1
y
a x x
x
y
T ) (
2
2
A =
|
|
.
|

\
|
A
c
c




2
2
2
2
t
y
T x
y
c
c
=
c
c
2
2
2 2
2
1
t
y
v x
y
c
c
=
c
c
This is known as the Wave Equation.
Notice that it is a linear second order partial
differential equation.
The principle of superposition is a direct
consequence of the linearity of the equation.
Principle of superposition is based on the fact that,
If y
1
and y
2
are

solutions of a linear equation, then
y
1
+ y
2
is also a solution of that equation.
This is not true for non-linear equations.
Consider a non-linear equation
0
2
=
|
.
|

\
|
ay
dt
dy
If y
1
and y
2
are solutions.
y
1
+ y
2
is not a solution.
Phenomena such as interference and diffraction
are based on the superposition principle


We now look for solutions of this equation, which
are stationary vibrations.
Therefore, we assume:
t x f t x y e cos ) ( ) , ( =
t x f
t
y
e e cos ) (
2
2
2
=
c
c
t
dx
f d
x
y
e cos
2
2
2
2
=
c
c
Substituting these derivatives in the wave equation,
gives us:
f
v dx
f d
2
2
2
2
e
=
|
.
|

\
|
=
v
x
A x f
e
sin ) (
The function automatically satisfies the boundary
condition at x = 0.
To satisfy the boundary condition at x = L
t
e
n
v
L
=
Where n is any positive
integer
The permitted frequencies are:
2 / 1
2 2
|
|
.
|

\
|
= =

T
L
n
L
nv
v
n
The total length of the string must exactly
accommodate an integral number of half-sine
curves.
n
L
n
2
=
The shape of the string in mode n is characterized
by:
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
L
x n
A
x
A x f
n
n
n n
t

t
sin
2
sin ) (
t
x
A t x y
n
n
n n
e

t
cos
2
sin ) , (
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
Forced Harmonic vibration of a stretched string:
The end of the string at x = L is kept fixed, but the
end at x = 0 is vibrated transversely at some
arbitrary angular frequency and with an amplitude
B.
We propose a steady state solution of the form:
t x f t x y e cos ) ( ) , ( =
The boundary conditions are:
t B t y e cos ) , 0 ( = 0 ) , ( = t L y
) sin( ) ( o + = Kx A x f
Substituting this in the wave equation, we get:
v
K
e
=
|
.
|

\
|
+ = o
e
v
x
A x f sin ) (
From the boundary condition at x = L,
0 sin =
|
.
|

\
|
+o
e
v
L
t o
e
p
v
L
= +
From the boundary condition at x = 0, we get
B = A sino
|
.
|

\
|

=
v
L
p
B
A
e
t sin
For a given amplitude of the forced
displacement at the extreme end, the
response of the string as a whole will be very
large, if the driving frequency is close to one
of the natural frequencies.
Damping will limit the actual amplitude.
We build up a large forces response with a
small driving amplitude by having the forcing
take place at a point which is close to being a
node of one of the natural frequencies.

The Vibrations of Air Columns:

In a tube, an open end represents a condition
of zero pressure change during the
oscillation and a place of maximum
movement of the air.
Tube: Open at one end and closed at the
other:
t
x
A t x y
n
n
n n
e

t
cos
2
sin ) , (
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
Standing waves on a string:
A disturbance set up at one end of a string
(fixed at both ends) travels to the other end
and is reflected back.
The reflected wave superposes on the initial
wave giving rise to the standing wave.
t
x
A t y
n
n
n n
e

t
cos
2
sin ) (
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
(

|
.
|

\
|
+ +
|
.
|

\
|
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
t
L
x n
t
L
x n
t
x
n n n
n
e
t
e
t
e

t
sin sin
2
1
cos
2
sin
Recall that L = n/2.
Therefore the above equation, can be re-
written as:
(

|
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ +
|
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
= t
n
L
x
L
n
t
n
L
x
L
n A
t x y
n n n
n
t
e t
t
e t
sin sin
2
) , (
( ) ( )
(

|
.
|

\
|
+ +
|
.
|

\
|
= vt x vt x
A
t x y
n
n

t 2
sin
2
sin
2
) , (
Concentrate on the first term:
we will show that it represents a wave
traveling in the forward direction.
At a particular time, y is a sinusoidal function
of x.
Let the same displacement be found at a
location x+Ax, at a time t + At
) , ( ) , ( t t x x y t x y A + A + =
( ) ( ) ( ) | |
|
.
|

\
|
A + A + =
|
.
|

\
|
t t v x x vt x

t 2
sin
2
sin
0 = A A t v x
Therefore, our definition of

T
Is correct .
Ax
t t+At

You can verify that:
( )
|
.
|

\
|
= vt x y

t 2
sin
Satisfies the one-dimensional wave equation
2
2
2 2
2
1
t
y
v x
y
c
c
=
c
c
&
( )
|
.
|

\
|
+ = vt x y

t 2
sin
Superposition of waves:
( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
= vt x y
1
1
2
sin

t
( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
= vt x y
2
2
2
sin

t
In fact, any function of the form
f(x-vt) or f(x+vt)
Satisfies the wave equation

Convenient to discuss in terms of wave
number (reciprocal of the wavelength)
The superposed waveform at t = 0 is given by:
| | ) 2 sin( ) 2 sin(
2 1
x k x k A y t t + =
] ) ( sin[ ] ) ( cos[ 2
2 1 2 1
x k k x k k A y + = t t
Optics:
Electromagnetic Waves:
Huygens-Fresnel Principle:
When a wave is propagating through a
medium, each point in the medium acts as
new source of spherical (circular) waves.
The Huygens principle can be used to explain
many of the observed phenomena concerning
waves.
1. Refraction:
Before we can apply Huygens principle, we
need to understand the construction of a
wavefront by this method.
What is a wavefront?
When a wave is propagating through a
medium, the locus of all points which have
the same phase is called a wavefront.
According to Huygens, any point in the
medium acts as a source of secondary
wavelets and the common tangent to the
wavelets originating from different points is
the wavefront
Huygens construction suffers from one
crucial drawback.
Whats that?
According to his construction, there should
be a backward propagating wave as well.
But we know there is no such wave.,
We modify the principle, to account for this,
and say that the secondary waves do not
have the same amplitude in all directions.
u
B
O
S
P
R
Effect at P due to the region near S is a
function f(u).
f(u) = 0 for u = t
Double-Slit Interference:
r
2

r
1

u
dsinu
P
The disturbances arriving at P from the two
slits are different in amplitude for two
reasons:
1. The distances r
1
and r
2
are different and
the amplitude falls off with increasing
distance from the source.
2. The angles u
1
and

u
2
are different and
hence according to Huygens construction,
the amplitude falls away with increasing
obliquity
There is a phase difference between the the
two disturbances corresponding to the
time difference (r
2
r
1
)/v, where v is the
wave speed.
We shall concentrate on situations where the
distances r
1
and r
2
are large compared to the
distance d between the slits.
Therefore we can ignore the difference in amplitudes
between the slits.
This also means a scalar addition of electric fields is
sufficient
There exist loci, nodal lines, along which the
resultant disturbance is almost zero at all
times.
At any point P, the displacement as a function
of time is of the form:
|
.
|

\
|
+
|
.
|

\
|
=
v
r
t A
v
r
t A t y
o o p
2 1
cos cos ) ( e e
( )
|
.
|

\
|

|
.
|

\
|
+
=
1 2
2 1
2
cos
2
) (
cos 2 ) ( r r
v v
r r
t A t y
o p
e e
e
When we move from point to point, the
difference between r
2
and r
1
is more important
in determining the resultant displacement
than the sum.
A given nodal line is defined by:
( )
( )
2
1 2
1 2
t

t
+ =

n
r r
The nodal lines are thus a set of:
hyperbolas
Within the area between the nodal lines, one
can draw a second set of hyperbolas which
define lines of maximum displacement.
The condition for maxima to occur is:
n r r =
1 2
u n d r r = = sin
1 2
The amplitude in an arbitrary direction is
given by:
|
.
|

\
|
=

u t
u
sin
cos 2 ) (
d
A A
o
For optical wavelengths:
1 <<
d

u ~ =
d
n
sin
Furthermore, at a given distance D from the
slits, the spacing between successive
maxima is:
d
D
Multiple-slit Interference (Diffraction Grating):
Array of N equally spaced slits.
Phase difference d between successive slits
is:
u

t
o sin
2
d =
We have already considered superposition of
N SHMs.
The resultant amplitude is:
) 2 / sin(
) 2 / (
o
o N Sin
A A
o
=
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Intensity pattern in