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Philip Salmony Experiment: Correlation between Frequency, Wavelength And Speed Of A Wave

08.02.2012

We are trying to prove with this experiment, that the velocity of a wave stays constant when altering the frequency (which results in a change of the wavelength). The equation states: v = f x .

Set-Up:
We used a frequency generator (oscillator) which generated a signal in the form of a sine wave. Using this we could alter the frequency and the amplitude. This device we connected with an actual motor which moves up and down, which was connected at one end of an elastic wire/band. The other end of the band was fed over a pully and then stretched with weights to increase the tension in the elastic band.

Experiment:
We constantly applied a tension of 0.4g (~3.9N) to the band and started the oscillator with a low frequency and slow increased it. When a standing wave was visible we used a ruler to measure the wavelength (from node to 3rd node). These results were then recorded in a table. The lowest frequency was 33Hz and the highest 140Hz.

Results:
(Where tension T is always equal to 0.4g)

Frequency (Hz) 33 39 40 50 61 62 69 76 80 100 140


Average Velocity: v = 35.68 ms-1

Wavelength (m) 0.97 1.00.00 1.00.00 0.60 0.62 0.45 0.45 0.48 0.40 0.40 0.33

Velocity (ms1) 32.01 39.00 40.00 30.00 37.82 27.90 31.05.12 36.48 32.00 40.00 46.20

Uncertainty in Velocities: 10.52ms-1 (Percentage Uncertainty = 29.5%)

Examination Of Data:
We base our value for velocity on the formula v = ( T / (m/l) ) (Velocity is equal to the squareroot of the Tension divided by the mass per unit length). The tension T is already known (0.4g), however mass per unit length needs to be calculated. We need to do three other things to work out our velocity. Firstly and secondly we need to weigh the elastic band and measure the length of the full elastic band. Thirdly we mark a length of 1m (with the help of a ruler) on the stretched elastic band and then take off the tension. After doing so, we measure the from mark to mark of the original 1m to find our stretched length. Once this is achieved we find the mass per unit length by solving the equation MassPerUnitLength = mass x (stretched length / full length). Now we can work out our velocity from the formula above. In this case our velocity should equal 44.27ms-1. Our average velocity equals around 36.7ms-1, however we have a large uncertainty in the measurements. If more accurate results were to be obtained our velocity would be close to the target velocity of around 44ms-1. Especially the errors of measuring lengths (i.e. the length measured for the wavelength or the actual length of elastic band). However I find even with these results which we have obtained one can see the relationship between the frequency, wavelength and velocity of the waves.