Teacher guide featuring 15 labs designed for Advanced Placement Physics 1.
Students use a resonance air column, tuning forks, and the principles of resonance and standing waves for a pipe with one closed end to experimentally determine a value for the speed of sound in air.
How can standing waves be used to determine the speed of sound in air? Use sound waves traveling into a tube with one closed end and the principles of resonance and standing waves to experimentally determine the speed of sound in air.
In the Structured version of this lab activity, students use a tube with one closed end and adjustable length to identify the length of tube required to establish the first harmonic (one standing wave with one-quarter wavelength inside the tube) for 5 different sound wave frequencies. Students then plot a graph of sound wave frequency versus inverse tube length. This graph displays a linear relationship to which students apply a line of best fit whose slope is equal to one-fourth the speed of sound in air. Using the slope, students calculate the speed of sound in air.
This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.