An Experiment (Kinda) With Waves and Stuff…

So, as the year is wrapping up, it has come to our attention that we should make THE ENTIRE WORLD aware of all the awesome things we have done in Physics this year. I have kept you guys pretty updated with everything I have done so far. We spent most of our time first semester playing with a quadcopter that to this day I still curse! Stinking thing will never work… Then, when second semester started, I started to work on some projects on my own. My first project was a mobile, which took WAY LONGER than it ever should have, but that is because I wasn’t quite getting the big picture! To see everything about that project, you can look at these 1 2 3 blog posts (p.s. each number is a different blog post (: )! Then after that I did some fun stuff with waves, which is what I will be talking about now.

As I was searching for another project to do, I kept thinking about pendulums and was curious if I could do anything with that. Luckily for me, that is when my brilliant teacher came to my rescue and gave me an idea–to create waves with a pendulum, some sand and a piece of paper. How does this work? Well, let me tell you! So I set up a nice little rig including a ring stand and a plastic syringe that had been a little cut up. Basically, the syringe had the tip cut of so that there was a tiny hole in the bottom and it also had the top bulb cut in half so you could put something inside the syringe. I then tied the syringe to the edge of the ring stand and it swung pretty well (at least well enough to make waves on 8 inch wide papers). The next step was to put some sand (at first is was dirt and magnetic filings, but that didn’t work so well) in the syringe, so that as the syringe swung, something would track the path it takes. So about now you are probably wondering how this makes a wave instead of a giant pile of sand. Well, the solution to the potential of mini sand dunes is simple–move the paper! Once you move the paper sideways while the pendulum is swinging, you get WAVES! They look a little like this…


As you can see the beginning of the wave is a little iffy, and that is purely because I don’t understand how to swing things. But it straightened out eventually and made some pretty decent little waves. So then I experimented a little bit with how fast I would move the paper, seeing as how that would affect the wavelength. HYPOTHESIS: If I slow down the movement of the paper then the wavelength will be shorter because there is less distance for the waves to travel in a certain amount of time. Contrarily, if I speed up the movement of the paper, the wavelengths will be longer because they cover more distance in a certain amount of time. I know, it seems like a pretty basic process but, I figured it is science either way you swing it (haha did you see what I did there…)!

So, moving back to the point, here is a picture of the waves when I slowed down the paper.


So, MY HYPOTHESIS WAS CORRECT! Not that it makes me an evil genius or anything because it is a little bit of common sense, but yeah. So the wavelengths definitely were shorter! So, lets see if my hypothesis stands for speeding the paper up…


And it does! TOUCH DOWN! Like I said, this project was little bit of common sense, but it was still fun to do. Plus, I didn’t even realize you could make waves with a pendulum and some paper! It was enjoyable to be able to play around with waves, after all they are in our everyday lives! Either way, I hope you liked my little, silly blog post! And maybe someone will do this project again some day and probably be a little more creative!

P.S. I apologize for the caps and bolding throughout! I think it is a symptom of Senioritis, seeing has how we have 3 DAYS LEFT!


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