Measuring the Speed of Sound. Physical Science lab write-up.

Essay by eagageCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2007

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The purpose of this lab is to determine the speed of sound in air by using different variations of tuning forks, a resonance water tube, and large beaker to figure out how many points of resonance could be found in the wavelength. Using the date collected, equations were used to find the value of the speed of sound in the laboratory by plugging in the accepted value of sound in air and the knowledge that sound travels two feet per second faster for every degree rise in temperature.

The wavelength is computed with several equations depending on the resonance.

Sound travels in a wave. It is created by a vibrating object that creates a vibration in a medium such as air, and this vibration travels eventually hitting our ear, which in turn vibrates, and sends a signal to our brain that we interpret as sound. This is the same as using a water tube and tuning forks because the vibration of the tuning forks on the water in the tube makes sound and when the sound reaches its loudest point, the wavelength has been found.

To begin this experiment, first the diameter of the tube must be measured. The diameter is then plugged into the following equation as "d" : dT = d + (0.4 x tube, diameter). In our experiment the diameter of the tube was 2.9 cm so the equation was dT = d + (0.4 x 2.9 cm) --> 1.16 cm. After measuring the diameter of the tube, use a rubber block to hit the 256 Hz. tuning fork then hold the tuning fork over the top of the water tube. Next use the large beaker to raise and lower the water level in the beaker which will cause sounds. When the sound...