Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Physics and Astronomy Demonstrations

 

Oscillations & Waves

 


Oscillations


 

Simple Pendulum

PIRA: 3A10.10

Description: A simple pendulum can be erected, set into motion and timed to discuss the period of a simple harmonic oscillator.  By using a motion sensor, the sinusoidal motion of the pendulum can be displayed.

 

Bowling Ball Pendulum with Motion Sensor

PIRA: 3A10.15

Description: The bowling ball can be suspended from the ceiling to create a pendulum. The period of the pendulum can be measured and the length of the pendulum can be calculated.

 

Different Mass Pendulums

PIRA: 3A10.17

Description: Pendula of the same length and different mass oscillate together.

 

Torsion Pendulum

PIRA: 3A10.30

Description: The torsional pendulum can be used to demonstrate that changes in the moment of inertia effect the angular speed of the object. The moment of inertia can be changed by placing masses in various positions on the disk. The torsional pendulum can also be used to discuss Hooke’s law and the torsional elastic constant, k. Discussions of torsional simple harmonic motion are also applicable.

 

Meter Stick Pendulum

PIRA: 3A15.11

Description: This can be used to demonstrate a physical pendulum.

 

Mass on a Spring

PIRA: 3A20.10

Description: When these springs are used to suspend the same mass, it can be shown that the frequency of oscillation depends on the spring constant of the material. The simple spring and mass system can be set into motion and timed to discuss the period of another simple harmonic oscillator.  By using a motion sensor, the sine wave motion of the spring and mass system can be displayed. There is also a variation of this demo to show damped harmonic motion.

 

Springs & Masses

PIRA: 3A20.11

Description: When these springs are used to suspend the same mass, it can be shown that the frequency of oscillation depends on the spring constant of the material. The motion sensor can be used to show the sinusoidal motion.

 

Air Track Glider and Spring

PIRA: 3A20.30

Description: An air cart is attached to a single horizontal coil spring. The cart driven by a mechanical vibrator and function generator.

 

Turntable Oscillator and Pendulum

PIRA: 3A40.20

Description: Shadow project a pendulum and turntable which have identical frequencies.

 

Damped Motion with Motion Sensor

PIRA: 3A50.23

Description: A spring is hung above a motion sensor with a mass attached. A sheet of foam core is attached to the mass to create a damped effect.

 

Tacoma Narrows (video)

PIRA: 3A60.10

Description: The digitized video is about 9 minutes in length.

 

Resonance Pendula

PIRA: 3A60.31

Description: Several ping pong balls are suspended at different lengths from a horizontal support string. A pool ball is also suspended. If the pool ball is set into oscillations, the ping pong balls will also swing. The largest amplitude will occur for the ping pong ball suspended at the same length as the pool ball.

 

Resonating Tuning Forks

PIRA: 3A60.52

Description: The various tuning forks have different frequencies and can be used in various ways to show the effects.

 

Resonating Water Column

PIRA: 3A60.53

Description: A speaker is placed above a tube of water. When the water level is right for the frequency, the tube becomes like a resonance chamber. The water level and the frequency can be adjusted to show this effect.

 

Back to Top

 


Wave Motion


 

Pulse on a Rope

PIRA: 3B10.10

Description: Give a heavy piece of stretched rope, rubber tubing, or nylon cord a quick pulse.

 

Pulse on a Spring

PIRA: 3B10.12

Description: This long spring can be attached to the wall in any of the lecture halls and then stretched nearly the length of the room. It is great for showing pulses as well as standing waves. It does not do longitudinal waves.

 

Slinky on the Table

PIRA: 3B10.20

Description: Create pulses and waves by hand on a slinky stretched down the lecture bench.

 

Bell Labs Wave Model

PIRA: 3B10.30

Description: The bell wave machine is a device constructed of many rods supported from their centers and connected by a cable. Displacement of one rod will propagate to the rest of the rods. Different length rods are available to display different wavelengths. Different boundary conditions can be constructed to show both reflection and transmission. The device is very versatile.

 

Columbia Wave Machine

PIRA: 3B10.41

Description: A wonderful antique device that with the turn of a crank shows the motions associated with water waves, sound waves, and ether waves.

 

Vibrating String

PIRA: 3B22.10

Description: Drive one end of a string over a pulley to a mass with variable frequency SHM.

 

Doppler Football

PIRA: 3B40.12

Description: Football emits a high frequency tone that demonstrates the Doppler Effect when thrown past, over, or by the students.

 

Leslie Speaker Doppler Effect

PIRA: 3B40.16

Description: One or two speakers rotate as they produce a frequency. The frequency changes as the speaker moves demonstrating the Doppler effect.

 

Ripple Tank – Single Slit

PIRA: 3B50.10

Description: Diffraction occurs from a plane wave passing through a single slit on the ripple tank.

 

Ripple Tank – Double Source

PIRA: 3B50.20

Description: The plane wave through each slit diffracts, but they also show interference.

 

Moire Pattern Transparencies

PIRA: 3B50.40

Description: A double slit representation of Moire patterns from two sheets of semicircular ruled transparencies.

 

Speaker Interference (Same Frequency)

PIRA: 3B55.10

Description: Two speakers run the same frequency but sit far enough away to hear the interference between the two.

 

Speaker Interference (Different Frequency)

PIRA: 3B55.11

Description: Two speakers run different frequencies and the beats between them can be heard.

 

Beat Tuning Forks

PIRA: 3B60.10

Description: Two identical tuning forks (A = 440 Hz) complete with sound boxes can be used to show resonance and beats. If one fork is struck, the other will vibrate sympathetically. A small clamp (or clay) is available to slightly change the frequency of one of the forks. When the two forks are then struck simultaneously, beats can be heard. In all cases, the sound can be amplified by the sound system in B16.

 

Back to Top

 


Acoustics


 

Bottle Scale (Pop Bottle with Water)

PIRA: 3C20.25

Description: The pop bottles contain different levels of water. When air is blown over the top they produce different frequencies depending on the level of water.

 

Back to Top

 


Instruments


 

Guitar

PIRA: 3D20.21

Description: Stringed instrument can be played to find the frequency of vibrating strings.

 

Violin

PIRA: 3D22.10

Description: Stringed instrument can be played to find the frequency of vibrating strings.

 

Resonating Water Column

PIRA: 3D30.10

Description: A speaker is placed above a tube of water. When the water level is right for the frequency, the tube becomes like a resonance chamber. The water level and the frequency can be adjusted to show this effect.

 

Corrugated Tube

PIRA: 3D30.17

Description: An open tube of corrugated plastic is whirled around at some frequency to produce a singing pipe.

 

Bell Jar

PIRA: 3D30.30

Description: A buzzer is placed in a bell jar. When the air is evacuated from the jar, the buzzer can no longer be heard.

 

Sound Level Meter

PIRA: 3D30.50

Description: This records the decibels of a sound.

 

Organ Pipes

PIRA: 3D32.10

Description: Show open and closed pipes of various lengths to give the monotonic scale.

 

Organ

PIRA: 3D32.11

Description:  Video displaying current draw while pipe organ is played. (YouTube Link)

 

Xylophone

PIRA: 3D40.10

Description: Play this instrument to demonstrate the musical scale.

 

Chladni Plates

PIRA: 3D40.30

Description: A mechanical vibrator and function generator vibrate a horizontal metal plate covered with sand while touching the edge at various nodal points.

 

Bohr Model (Oscillating Wire)

PIRA: 3D40.41

Description: A circular wire can be vibrated into various nodes.

 

Brandy Snifter

PIRA: 3D40.51

Description: Create standing waves by gently rubbing your finger on the rim of a brandy snifter partially filled with colored water.

 

Assorted Tuning Forks

PIRA: 3D46.10

Description: These are used to hear and display the varying wavelengths and waveforms with the ear and oscilloscope respectively.

 

Back to Top