Waves on a String
AVES ON A
• Measure the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves on a string
• Examine how string mass, tension, and length affect the resonant frequency
To Do Before Lab: •
Read this lab
• Review Taylor Ch. 3 and think about how the error propagation
formulas will be applied in this lab
Strings, masses, loudspeaker, function generator, oscilloscope, meter sticks, strobe
light, tuning fork.
Begin with 1kg on the string.
Vibrating strings have been used throughout the world, for thousands of years, to produce
Familiar examples include the violin, piano, ukulele, zither, and harp.
In this lab
you will investigate some of the basic phenomena common to all stringed instruments.
When a stretched string is disturbed by a source (usually plucking near an end of the string or
stroking with a bow), a wave train is produced which travels along the string away from the
When the wave reaches the end of the string it reflects and travels back toward the source
end where it reflects again, and so forth.
In general, the waves travelling along the string in
opposite directions will interfere with each other in a complicated way and no regular wave
pattern will appear on the string.
However, for the right combination of frequency, wave speed,
and string length, a
Standing waves are produced when two sinusoidal waves of equal amplitude and frequency travel
through a medium in opposite directions. In this case, the waves traveling in opposite directions