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Sound and Light Lab Discussion: Sound and light both travel in waves. Light is a type of transverse wave and does not require a medium (matter). Sound is a type of longitudinal wave and it does require a medium to be transmitted. The amplitude is the displacement of the wave from the rest or equilibrium position, such as the height of the wave for an ocean wave. It is essentially the energy carried by the wave. For sound, this is exhibited as loudness the greater the amplitude of the wave, the louder the sound. Sound that is too loud can damage our hearing and cause other physiological effects. The frequency of a wave is the number of waves that pass a given point per second. It is measure in units called Hertz, which is the number of waves per second . Different frequencies of sound waves are interpreted by our ears as different pitches if the wave is in the audible range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. So are ultraviolet radiation, microwaves, radio (and TV) waves, and infrared radiation, which we cannot see. We cannot see these because their wavelengths are out of the range that our eyes can see shorter than 4 x 10 -7 m and longer than 8 x 10 -7 m. (Wavelength is the distance from a point on 1 wave to the corresponding point on the next wave and can be measured in meters.) Our eyes interpret wavelengths between these 2 values as visible light of different colors with the shorter length appearing as violet and the longer length as red. Frequency and wavelength are related to each other in what we call the wave equation. The equation is: v = f where v is velocity, f is frequency and is wavelength. Velocity is generally measured in m/s, frequency in Hertz (#/sec), and wavelength in meters. For electromagnetic radiation (including light in a vacuum) the velocity is represented by c, which stands for the speed of light in a vacuum and has a value of 3 x 10 8 m/s. For sound in air at 0 o C (or 32 o F), the speed is 330 m/s or 1000 ft/sec. As air gets warmer, the sound travels faster. The speed of sound increases by 0.60 m/s (or 2.0 ft/s) for every degree above 0 o C. The equation for finding the speed of sound at Celsius temperatures above 0 o C is: v = v 0 + 0.60 m/s (T) where v is the speed at the new temperature, v o is the speed at 0 o C which is 330 m/s, and T is the Celsius temperature.
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  • Spring '17
  • Andre Jackson
  • Light, Hertz, Wavelength, Light lab

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