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TheLaboratory

RippleTankLab
TeachersGuide

Topic:

LightandColor

Thefollowinginformationisprovidedtothestudent:

Question:
Howisthepathdifferencerelatedtothewavelengthoflightforatwopointsourceinterference
pattern?

Purpose:
Todeveloptwoequations(onefornodesandoneforantinodes)forrelatingthepathdifferenceto
thewavelengthforatwopointsourceinterferencepattern.

AcompletelabwriteupincludesaTitle,aPurpose,aDatasection,aConclusionandaDiscussionof
Results.TheDataSectionshouldincludetheprovidedpatternwithmarkednodalandantinodallines,
markednodesandantinodes,andatableofdatalistingS1P,S2PandPDdistancesexpressedinterms
ofwavelengths.TheConclusionshouldstatetwoequationsrelatingpathdifferencetowavelength
onefornodalpositionsandtheotherforantinodalpositions.Thesymbolsusedintheequationshould
bedefined.TheDiscussionofResultssectionshoulddescribetheevidencewhichleadstothe
conclusionstatement;specifictrialsofdatashouldbereferencedinordertodemonstratethe
evidenceleadingtotheequation.

MaterialsRequired:
Twopointsourceinterferencepattern(providedinAuxiliaryMaterialssection).

DescriptionofProcedure:
Studentsareprovidedatwopointsourceinterferencepattern.Thepatternisdiscussed;nodaland
antinodalpointsarelocatedandmarkedonthediagram(usinganxfornodesandanoforantinodes).
Linesaredrawnthroughthenodalandtheantinodalpointstoformnodalandantinodallines.Thelines
aregivenanumberwholenumbersforallantinodallinesandhalfnumbersforthenodallines.The
numbersstartat0forthecentralantinodallineandincreasebyforeachconsecutivelinetotheleft
andtherightofthecentralline.Oncethepatternislabeled,studentspickapointonthecentral
antinodalline(m=0),labelingitwithaletter(e.g.,P).Theymeasurethenumberofwavelengthsof
distancefromeachsourcetotheselectedpoint.Theydeterminethepathdifferenceasthedifference
betweenthesetwodistances.Studentsrepeattheprocedureforapointonthem=1antinodalline
(referredtoasthefirstantinodalline);theymeasureS1PandS2Panddeterminethepathdifferenceas
thedifferencebetweenthetwomeasurements.Theprocessisrepeatedforthesecondantinodalline
andforthefirstthreenodallines.Studentsinspecttheirdata,compareresultswithclassmateswho
chosedifferentpointsonthesamelines,andsummarizetheresultsbywritinganequationwhichrelates
thepathdifferencetothewavelengthforpointsonbothtypesoflines.

AlternativeMaterialsandProcedure:
Ifarippletankandaccompanyingequipmentisavailable,considerdemonstratingtheproductionofthe
patternbytwovibratingsourcespositionedatoneendofthetank.

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009

TheLaboratory
SafetyConcern:
Thereisalwaysahigherthanusuallevelofriskassociatedwithworkinginasciencelab.Teachers
shouldbeawareofthisandtakethenecessaryprecautionstoinsurethattheworkingenvironmentisas
safeaspossible.Studenthorseplayandofftaskbehaviorsshouldnotbetolerated.

Suggestions,Precautions,Notes:
1.
2.

3.

4.

Foragroovyprelabmoment,allowstudentstheopportunitytoholdthesheetcontainingthe
patternparalleltothefloorateyelevelandtosightalongtheplaneofthesheet.Thenodaland
antinodallinesareclearlyvisiblewhenviewedfromthisperspective.
Allstudentshavethesamepattern.Differentstudentswillpickdifferentpointsonthevarious
nodalandantinodallines.TheirS1PandS2Pdistanceswillvaryfromoneanother;yetforany
givenline,theywillallhavethesamepathdifferencevalues.Guidetheactivity,allowingstudents
topickdifferentpointsandtomakedifferentmeasurements;thentakethetimetosummarizethe
datainthelastcolumnforeachtable.
Studentshavedifficultywiththeconceptofpathdifference.Emphasizethatthepatternsoccur
becausewavesfromtwodifferentsourcestraveladifferentdistancealongadifferentpathtothe
samepointontheantinodal(ornodal)lines.Whenthedifferenceindistancetraveledbythewaves
alongthetwodifferentpathsisequaltomwheremisawholenumberthenconstructive
interferenceoccurs.
Differenttextbooksusedifferentnumberingsystemsforthenodalandantinodallines.Thesystem
describedaboveresultsinasingleequationwhichcanbeusedforthepathdifference,irregardless
ofwhetherthepointisonanodalorantinodalline.Othernumberingsystemsrequireadifferent
equationforthedifferentlines.

AuxiliaryMaterials:
ThefollowingpageisprovidedtothestudentforcompletionandinclusionintheDatasectionoftheir
labnotebook.

Anti-Nodal
Line

Point
(labeled)

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009

Distance from S1
to Point in

Distance from S2
to Point in

PD
in

TheLaboratory

Central

1st

2nd

Nodal
Line

1st

0.5

2nd

1.5

3rd

2.5

Point
(labeled)

Distance from S1
to Point in

Distance from S2
to Point in

PD
in

ScoringRubric:
L1.

RippleTankLab
Included,labeledandorganizedallpartsofthelabreport.
Datasectionincludestheprovideddiagram;nodalandantinodallineswere
tracedandlabeledwithanmnumber.Specificnodalandantinodalpoints
wereselectedandlabeledwithaletter;measurementsfromthesepointsto
thetwosources(intermsof)arerecordedintheprovideddatatable.
Pathdifferencevaluesarerecorded(intermsof)aswell.
Conclusionstatestheequationsrelatingthepathdifferencetothe
wavelengthfornodalandantinodalpoints.Symbolsusedwithinthe
equationaredefined.Equationsareaccurateandclear.
DiscussionofResultsdescribestheevidenceleadingtoeachofthe
equationsintheConclusionsection.Specifictrialsarereferencedand
discussedtoprovideevidencefortheequation.

Score

_____/_____

ConnectionstoThePhysicsClassroomTutorial:
Thefollowingreadingsareasuitableaccompanimenttothislab:
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l1b.cfm
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l3a.cfm
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l3b.cfm

ConnectionstoMindsonPhysicsInternetModules:
TherearenosublevelsofMindsonPhysicswhichpertaintothetopicoftwopointsourceinterference.

ThePhysicsClassroom,2009