Recommended for grades 9–12.
Sound waves consist of a series of air pressure variations. A Microphone diaphragm records these variations by moving in response to the pressure changes. The diaphragm motion is then converted to an electrical signal. Using a Microphone, you can explore the properties of common sounds.
The first property you will measure is the period, or the time for one complete cycle of repetition. Since period is a time measurement, it is usually written as T. The reciprocal of the period (1/T) is called the frequency, f, the number of complete cycles per second. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz). 1 Hz = 1 s–1.
A second property of sound is the amplitude. As the pressure varies, it goes above and below the average pressure in the room. The maximum variation above or below the pressure mid-point is called the amplitude. The amplitude of a sound is closely related to its loudness.
- Measure the frequency and period of sound waves from tuning forks or an electronic keyboard.
- Measure the amplitude of sound waves from tuning forks or an electronic keyboard.
- Observe beats between the sounds of two tuning forks or two keys on an electronic keyboard.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment requires each of the following Vernier sensors and equipment (unless otherwise noted):
You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?
Download Experiment Preview
The student-version preview includes:
- Step-by-step instructions for computer-based data collection
- List of materials and equipment
Note: The experiment preview of the computer edition does not include essential teacher information, safety tips, or sample data. Instructions for Logger Pro and other software (such as LabQuest App or TI handheld software, where available) are on the CD that accompanies the book. We strongly recommend that you purchase the book before performing experiments.
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