Calculating Wavelength in a Ripple Tank: Understanding the PS1-PS2 Equation

In summary, the conversation discusses the use of two sources 6.0 cm apart producing water waves in phase. A student measures from a point on the first nodal line 30.0 cm to a point midway between the sources and 5.0 cm on the perpendicular to the right bisector. The student is trying to determine the wavelength using the equations PS1 - PS2 = (n-1/2)lambda and lambda = xnd/L(n-1/2). They have tried multiple values but have not been able to get the correct answer of 2.0 cm. Clarification is needed on the definitions of first nodal line, right bisector, and perpendicular to the right bisector in order to accurately
  • #1

Homework Statement


Two sources 6.0 cm apart, operating in phase, produce water waves. A student selects a point on the first nodal line and measures from it 30.0cm to a point midway between the sources and 5.0cm (on the perpendicular) to the right bisector.
a) what is the wavelength

Homework Equations


PS1 - PS2 = (n-1/2)lambda
lambda = xnd/L(n-1/2)

The Attempt at a Solution


I have tried to use both of these equations, & I still can't get the answer I don't understand.. the answer is 2.0cm and the answers I've been getting are 11.7cm, 60cm, 20cm... I don't understand
 
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  • #2
Try giving us a few definitions: first nodal line; right bisector; perpendicular to the right bisector. Been a while since I played with a ripple tank, and I'm not remembering what some of the descriptive terms mean.
 
  • #3
Quantum Fizzics said:
A student selects a point on the first nodal line
Seems to me you need to be told it's the first point on the first antinodal line.
Quantum Fizzics said:
measures from it 30.0cm to a point midway between the sources and 5.0cm (on the perpendicular) to the right bisector
Maybe you've derived the wrong diagram. In Cartesian coordinates, if the sources are at (-3,0) and (+3,0), and we take the first node on the first nodal line in the first quadrant, where do you think the chosen node is?
 

1. What is a ripple tank?

A ripple tank is a scientific apparatus used to study the behavior of water waves. It consists of a shallow container filled with water, a light source, and a vibrating object that creates waves on the surface of the water.

2. How does a ripple tank work?

The light source illuminates the water surface, making it easier to observe the waves. The vibrating object creates ripples on the water, which then propagate outwards and reflect off the walls of the tank. The reflections create interference patterns that can be studied to understand the behavior of water waves.

3. What can be learned from studying a ripple tank?

Studying a ripple tank can help us understand the properties of waves, such as reflection, refraction, interference, and diffraction. It can also help us understand the principles of superposition and standing waves. Additionally, ripple tanks can be used to study the effects of different mediums on wave behavior.

4. How is a ripple tank useful in real-life applications?

Ripple tanks are used in various fields, such as oceanography, seismology, and engineering, to study the behavior of water waves and other types of waves. They are also used to test the effects of waves on structures, such as dams and bridges, and to study the behavior of sound waves and earthquake waves.

5. Are there any limitations to using a ripple tank?

While ripple tanks are a useful tool for studying the behavior of waves, they have some limitations. They can only simulate two-dimensional waves, and the waves created are small and may not accurately represent real-life situations. Additionally, the accuracy of the results may be affected by external factors such as air currents and imperfections in the tank.

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