8/07
1
Waves on a String
Saddleback College Physics Department
Purpose:
To study the properties of standing waves on a string by obtaining an experimental frequency value
and comparing it to the driving frequency.
AntiNode
Node
Apparatus
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8/07
2
Equipment:
signal generator, string vibrator, set of weights, meter stick, digital balance, pulley, desk clamp,
string (white/green, white/red, etc.), leads
Theory:
A fundamental equation of wave motion is
f
v
λ
=
(equation 1)
where
v
= velocity,
f
= frequency and
λ
= wavelength of the wave.
The velocity of a transverse wave traveling along a string is given by the equation
μ
T
v
=
(equation 2)
where
T
is the tension in the string and
μ
is the mass per unit length of the string.
If one end of the string is held fixed (on a pulley) and the other end is attached to a vibrator so that
its direction of vibration is perpendicular to the string.
Proper adjustment of the string’s frequency
of vibration can produce stationary waves on the string, yielding an integral number of half
wavelengths on the string.
The distance between adjacent nodes is
2
λ
.
Note that the
harmonic
number
corresponds to the
number of
antinodes
.
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 Fall '08
 Parsons,B
 Physics, Standing wave, Saddleback College Physics Department

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