Objective: Investigate standing waves along a stretched coil spring and a taut rope
Some examples of where mechanical waves arise include a stretched coil spring, where the waves are
longitudinal, or a taut rope where the waves are transverse. In either case, standing waves will be set
up if one end of the carrier medium is fixed. This is because the incoming wave and the wave reflected
at the fixed end have the same amplitude and are superimposed on one another. If the other end is
also fixed, the only way that waves can propagate is if resonance conditions are met. In this experiment
the coil spring and the rope are fixed at one end. The other end, a distance L from the fixed
point, is fixed to a vibration generator, which uses a function generator to drive small-amplitude oscillations
of variable frequency f. This end can also be regarded as a fixed point to a good approximation.
The intrinsic frequency of the vibration will be measured as a function of the number of nodes in the
standing wave. The speed of propagation of the wave can then be calculated from this data.