Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Physics Teacher Guide
This manual features over 30 College Board curriculum and AP Physics exam inspired lab activities.
Resonance & Waves
Use tuning forks and a plastic pipe to determine an experimental value for the speed of sound in air.
Sound waves produced by a tuning fork travel through a pipe closed at one end, establishing standing waves inside the pipe (resonance). Design and conduct an experiment that uses the mathematical relationship between air column length and resonance frequency along with a graphical method to determine an experimental value for the speed of sound in air.
- Design a resonating chamber using a hollow pipe and a basin of water.
- Use the mathematical relationship between air column length for a closed-end container and standing-wave harmonics and resonance to determine the speed of sound in air.
Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:
- Using an open-ended pipe submerged in a basin of water to create a closed end air column.
- Striking a tuning fork and holding it over the pipe, then moving the pipe and tuning fork up and down to change the length of the air column until the pipe begins to resonate.
- Measuring the resonant length of the pipe and plotting 1/L versus frequency for several tuning forks.
- Determining the speed of sound using the slope of a best fit line of their 1/L versus frequency graph.
Graduated cylinder, 1-L, or other tall water reservoir
Meter stick - 5
Plastic pipe, both ends open, 3 cm or larger diameter
Tuning Forks (each with different frequency) - 5
Water to fill reservoir
The Associated Bundle:
This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Advanced Physics lab manual.