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Wave Properties

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Lesson Focus



Learning Made Easy

You get to learn about the basic properties of waves. Check out a few of the factors that affect the speed of waves, and learn about the Doppler effect and the useful property of resonance.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define resonance.
  • Give examples of resonance. 

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is resonance?

~ Resonance is when an object or system absorbs energy and oscillates at its natural or resonant frequency with increasing amplitude as the result of the application of a driving force at that natural frequency.

How can resonance cause an object to break?

~ Resonating objects can break if the amplitude of the resonant vibration exceeds the strength of the material.

How can an opera singer break a glass using only his or her own voice?

~ When an opera singer sings, the sound waves he or she emits vibrate the surrounding air molecules. These molecules then periodically strike the glass. If the singer sings at the correct pitch, this will cause the glass to vibrate at its natural frequency. When the amplitude of the oscillations becomes too great, it will exceed the strength of the glass and cause it to break.

How do magnetic resonance imaging machines use resonance to generate body images?

~ Magnetic resonance imaging machines generate body images by sending electromagnetic waves into the body. These waves cause the nuclei of hydrogen atoms found in the body to spin at their natural frequency. Images can then be produced by observing these rotations with electronic tools.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define waves, sound, and wave length.
Course Physics
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary waves, sound, wave length