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e xp e ri m e n t

Submitted to: Submitted by:

Mr. rohit verma group 27,b3
The mechanical waves are of two types.
• Transverse wave motion
• Longitudinal wave motion

Transverse wave motion-

A transverse wave motion is that wave motion, in which individual
particles of the medium execute simple harmonic motion about their mean
position in a direction perpendicular to the direction of propagation of
wave motion.

For example-
(i) Movement of string of a sitar or violin
(ii) Movement of membrane of a tabla
(iii) Movement of a kink on a rope
Waves set up on the surface of water are a combination of transverse
waves and longitudinal waves. Light waves and all other electro-
waves are also transverse waves. A transverse wave travels through a
medium in the form of crests and troughs.

A crest is a portion of the medium which is raised temporarily above the

normal position of rest of the particles of the medium, when a transverse
wave passes through it. The centre of crest is the position of maximum
displacement in the positive direction.

A trough is a portion of the medium which is depressed temporarily

below the normal position of rest of the particles of the medium, when a
transverse wave passes through it. The centre of trough is the position of
maximum displacement in the negative direction.

The distance between two consecutive crests or two consecutive troughs

is called wavelength of the wave. It is represented by λ
Thus AC = BD = λ

For the propagation of mechanical waves, the material medium must

possess the following characteristics:
(i)Elasticity, so that particles can return to their mean position, after
having been disturbed.
(ii)Inertia, so that particles can store energy and overshoot their mean
• Wavelength- Wavelength of a wave is the length of one wave. It
is equal to the distance travelled by the wave during the time; any one
particle of the medium completes one vibration about its mean
position. We may also define wavelength as the distance between
any two nearest particles of the medium, vibrating in the same phase.
As stated already transverse wave motion,
λ = distance between centers of two consecutive crests or
distance between centers of two consecutive troughs.
Also, wavelength can be taken as the distance in which one crest and one
trough are contained.
Similarly, in a longitudinal wave motion,
λ = distance between the centers of two consecutive
compressions or distance between two consecutive rarefactions.
Also, wavelength can be taken as the distance in which one
compression and one rarefaction are contained.

• Frequency-Frequency of vibration of a particle is defined as the

number of vibrations completed by particle in one second. As one
vibration is equivalent to one wavelength, therefore, we may define
frequency of a wave as the number of complete wavelengths
transversed by the wave in one second. It is represented by υ.

• Time period-Time period of vibration of a particle is defined as

the time taken by the particle to complete one vibration about its
mean position. As one vibration is equivalent to one wavelength,
therefore, time period of a wave is equal to time taken by the wave to
travel a distance equal to one wavelength. It is represented by T.
By definition,
Time for completing v vibrations = 1 sec
Time for completing 1 vibration = 1/υ sec
T = 1/υ or υ = 1/T or υT = 1
…………. (1)


Suppose υ = frequency of a wave
T = time period of the wave
λ = wavelength of the wave
v = velocity of the wave.

By definition,
definition, velocity = distance/ time
v = s/t.................. (2)
In one complete
complete vibration of the particle, distance travelled, s =
λ and time taken, t = T
From (2), v = λ/T = λ X1/T 1/T
Using (1), we get

.......... (3)

Hence velocity of wave is the product of frequency and wavelength of

the wave. This relation holds for transverse as well as longitudinal waves.
When a string under tension is set into vibrations, transverse harmonic
waves propagate along its length. When the length of string is fixed,
reflected waves will also exist. The incident and reflected waves will
superimpose to produce transverse stationary
stationary waves in the string.
The string will vibrate in such a way that the clamped points of the
string are nodes and the point of plucking is the antinode.

Let a harmonic wave be set up on a string of length L, fixed at the two

ends x=0 and x=L. This wave gets reflected from the two fixed ends of the
string continuously and as a result of superimposition of these waves,
standing waves are formed on the string.
Let the wave pulse moving on the string from left to right be
represented by
y1 = r sin 2π (vt - x)
Where the symbols have their usual meanings. Note that, here x is the
distance from the origin in the direction of the wave (from left to right).It
is often convenient to take the origin(x=0) at the interface (the site of
reflection), on the right fixed end of the string. In that case, sign of x is
reversed because it is measured from the interface in a direction opposite to
the incident wave. The equation of incident wave may, therefore, be
written as

y1 = r sin 2π (vt + x).............(1)

As there is a phase change of π radian on reflection at the fixed end of the
string, therefore, the reflected wave pulse travelling from right to left on
the string is represented by
y2 = r sin [2π (vt - x) + π ]
= - r sin 2π (vt - x)............
x)............ (2)
According to superposition principle, the resultant displacement y at time t
and position x is given by
y = y1 + y2
= r sin 2π (vt + x) - r sin 2π (vt - x)
λ λ
= r [sin 2π (vt + x) - sin 2π (vt - x)].......(3)
λ λ
Using the relation,
sin C - sin D = 2 cos C + D sin C - D
2 2

We get,
y = 2 r cos 2 π v t sin 2 π x
λ λ
……… (4) (4)
As the arguments of trignometrical functions involved in (4) do not have
the form (vt + x), therefore, it does not represent a moving harmonic wave.
Rather, it represents a new kind of waves called standing or stationary

At one end of the string, where x = 0

From (4),
y = 2 r cos 2 π vt sin 2 π (0) = 0
λ λ
At other end of the string, where x = L
From (4),
y = 2 r cos 2 π vt sin 2 π L .......... (5)
λ λ
As the other end of the string is fixed,
∴ y = 0, at this end

For this, from (5),

sin 2 π L = 0 = sin n π,
where n = 1,2,3..........
sin 2 π L = n π
where n = 1,1, 2, 3.....
3..... correspond to 1st,
1st, 2nd, 3rd.....
3rd..... normal modes of
vibration of the string.

(i) First normal mode of vibration

Suppose λ1 is the wavelength of standing waves set up on the string
corresponding to n = 1.
From (6), λ1 = 2 L
or L = λ1
The string vibrates as a whole in one segment, as shown in figure.
The frequency of vibration is given by
υ1 = v = v ………. (a)
λ1 2L

As v = √T/m
where T is the tension in the string and m is the mass per unit length of
the string.

∴ υ1 = 1 √T
2L m

This normal mode of vibration is called fundamental

fundamental mode. The
frequency of vibration of string in this mode is minimum and is called
fundamental frequency. The sound or note so produced is called fundamental
note or first harmonic.

To determine the frequency of AC mains by Melde’s experiment.

• Electrically maintained tuning fork
• A stand with clamp and pulley
• A light weight pan
• A weight box
• Balance
• A battery with eliminator and connecting wires

A string can be set into vibrations by means of an electrically
maintained tuning fork, thereby producing stationary waves due to
reflection of waves at the pulley. The end of the pulley where it touches
the pulley and the position where it is fixed to the prong of tuning fork.
(i)For the transverse arrangement, the frequency is given by
n = 1 √T
2L m
where ‘L’ is the length of thread in fundamental modes of vibrations,
‘ T ’ is the tension applied to the thread and ‘m’ is the mass per unit
length of thread. If ‘p’ loops are formed in the length ‘L’ of the thread,
n = p √T
2L m

(ii)For the longitudinal arrangement, when ‘p’ loops are formed, the
frequency is given by
n = p √T
L m

• Find the weight of pan P and arrange the apparatus as shown in
• Place a load of 4 To 5 gm in the pan attached to the end of the string
passing over the pulley.
pulley. Excite the tuning fork by switching on the
power supply.
• Adjust the position of the pulley so that the string is set into resonant
vibrations and well defined loops are obtained. If necessary, adjust
the tensions by adding weights in the pan slowly and gradually. For
finer adjustment, add milligram weight so that nodes are reduced to
• Measure the length of say 4 loops formed in the middle part of the
string. If ‘L’ is the distance in which 4 loops are formed, then
distance between two consecutive nodes is L/4.
• Note down the weight placed in the pan and calculate the tension T.
Tension, T=
T= (wt.
(wt. in the pan + wt. of pan)
pan) g
• Repeat the experiment twine by changing the weight in the pan in
steps of one gram and
and altering the position of the pulley each time to
get well defined loops.
• Measure one meter length of the thread and find its mass to find the
value of m, the mass produced per unit length.

For longitudinal arrangement

Weight No. of Length of Length of Tension n

loops thread each loop
20 4 152 38 36 45.5
30 4 143 35.75 46 54
40 3 130 43.3 56 49.3
Mean frequency=49.6 vib/sec

For transverse arrangement

Weight No. of Length of Length of Tension n

loops thread each loop
40 7 157 21.5 56 49.7
50 6 145 24.1 66 48.1
60 5 137 27.4 76 45.4
Mean frequency=47.7 vib/sec

Mass of the pan, W=……… kg

Mass per meter of thread, m=……… kg
For transverse arrangement,
n = 1 √T
2L m
For longitudinal arrangement,
n = 1 √T
L m
Mean frequency, n=………… vib/sec.

• The thread should be uniform and inextensible.
• Well defined loops should be obtained by adjusting the tension with
milligram weights.
• Frictions in the pulley should be least possible.