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Doppler effect, moving car and whistle

  1. Dec 2, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Sally is a police officer who is standing in an intersection. A car driven by David approaches the intersection at a speed of 75 km/h. Sally blows her whistle (at a frequency of 900 hz) and signals the driver to stop. What does frequency does David hear? (speed of sound is 343 m/s). David does not stop and passes through the intersection and accelerates to 90 km/h, sally blows her whistle again, what frequency does David hear?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    So the velocity of the median is zero, v is speed of sound =343 m/s , v(D) is David and at 75 km/h = 20.83 m/s and v(S) is sally = 0 and i also make it negative since travelling at sally
    so i go
    f'=(343-(-20.83))/343*900 = 954.65 Hz

    next I do the same as above except i make the v(D) = 90 km/h = 25 and is positive
    f'=(343-25)/343*900 = 834.40Hz this is my problem shouldn't the travelling away Doppler affect give a greater frequency than started with?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2009 #2


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    No, traveling away should lower the frequency, and traveling towards should increase the frequency. When you move towards someone each successive wavefront is closer together than expected, when you move away from someone each successive wavefront is farther apart than expected (hence, lower frequency).
  4. Dec 2, 2009 #3
    So my method is right? If anyone has spare time on their hands to double check my answers that will be much appreciated (i'm a little foggy in the air and would love to know if i'm getting the right answer)
  5. Dec 3, 2009 #4


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    I don't know about the figures since I'm too lazy to plug in numbers, but the concept is right. For a detector moving away from a source, the frequency should be lower than at the source, and for a detector moving toward a source the frequency should be higher.
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