Lecture Demos: Oscillations and Waves

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Tuning Forks with Resonance Boxes

Tuning Forks with Resonance Boxes

Using two tuning forks (of the same frequency), each mounted on their respective box, (box openings facing each other) strike one of the forks. If you stop that fork after a few seconds, you will hear the same tone coming from the other fork, set into vibration by the first one.

PIRA Code(s): 
3D46.16
Set up time: 
no setup required
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Waves and Oscillations
Operation: 
Place the boxes with open cavities facing, one box length apart. Strike the first tuning fork with the striker. Stop the vibrations with your hand. Listen closely for the sound coming from the second fork.
Safety: 
None

Various Tuning Forks and Equipment

Various Tuning Forks and Equipment

This is a set of different size tuning forks including strikers

PIRA Code(s): 
3D46.15
Set up time: 
1 minute
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Oscillations and Waves
Operation: 
Hit a tuning fork with a striker to produce a sound wave.
Safety: 
None

Slide Whistle

Slide Whistle

A whistle with a sliding piston is used to demonstrate differences in frequencies. When the piston is extended all the way, the frequency and pitch of the whistle is lowered. If the whistle is blown with the piston closed, the frequency and pitch will be higher.

PIRA Code(s): 
3D32.15
Set up time: 
No setup required.
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Waves, Oscillations, Frequency, Pitch
Operation: 
First, slide blow into the mouthpiece located at the top of the whistle. Next, move the piston to create different frequencies. If you have trouble moving the piston and blowing into the whistle simultaneously, have another person work the piston.
Safety: 
Do not blow too hard or for extended periods of time as this may cause dizziness or headaches. Clean the mouthpiece in between use.

Bell in Vacuum

Bell in Vacuum

A bell jar containing an alarm buzzer inside of it can be pumped out. When the buzzer is in a vacuum, it will not sound because there is no air for the waves to travel through. As the valve is opened and air pressure returns inside the bell jar, the alarm will sound again.

PIRA Code(s): 
3B30.30
Set up time: 
10 minutes (5 minutes to pump the bell jar)
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Sound waves
Operation: 
Plug in the pump and attach the clear tube of the pump to the valve. Turn the switch on the power supply to ascertain that the alarm is working properly. Then, pump out the air inside the bell jar. It will take about 5 minutes to obtain a low enough air pressure so that the alarm will not sound. Turn the alarm on and slowly open the valve, allowing the air pressure in the bell jar to increase. The sound of the alarm will also gradually increase.
Safety: 
A glass jar containing a vacuum can be extremely hazardous if broken.

Stretched Slinky

Stretched Slinky

A long slinky is stretched along a bench or the floor, and a compression pulse is used to show a longitudinal wave.

PIRA Code(s): 
3B20.11
Set up time: 
2 minutes
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Longitudinal Waves
Operation: 
Lay the slinky down on the ground and push it back and forth lengthwise to make longitudinal waves.
Safety: 
Ends of slinky may be sharp or may tangle.

Assortment of Springs

 Assortment of Springs

This is an assortment of springs with different strengths. Includes two Wilbur force springs.

PIRA Code(s): 
3A20.99
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Oscillations
Operation: 
Springs may be used with other experiments.
Safety: 
Ends of springs may be sharp.

Reverb Cups

Reverb Cups

Large plastic cups attached by a metal coil allow waves to be heard.

PIRA Code(s): 
3A20.80
Set up time: 
1 minute
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Oscillations and Waves
Operation: 
Shake the cup to send large waves down the spring and create sounds similar to whale songs or star trek laser blasts. Speak into the cup and the spring will create an echoing effect.
Safety: 
Do not hyperextend slinky.

Variable Angle Pendulum

 Variable Angle Pendulum

A physical pendulum is mounted on a bearing so the angle of the plane of oscillation can be changed. As you increase the angle, the frequency at which the pendulum swings will decrease.

PIRA Code(s): 
3A10.40
Set up time: 
none
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Oscillations
Operation: 
Push the pendulum so that it swings back and forth at an angle of about 0 ยบ. Then, slowly increase the angle, and watch the frequency decrease. For a more effective demonstration, start the pendulum at a relatively high angle, and then decrease the angle of the plane of oscillation so that the frequency of the pendulum will increase over time.
Safety: 
None

Upside-Down Pendulum

Upside-Down Pendulum

A weight is attached to a hacksaw blade so that it can move up and down the blade to change the frequency.

PIRA Code(s): 
3A10.20
Set up time: 
1 minute
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Oscillations
Operation: 
Move the weight along the hacksaw blade. Pull back on the blade and release. When the weight is at the top of the blade the frequency is smaller compared to when the weight is at the bottom.
Safety: 
Edge of blade may be sharp.

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