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Factors affecting the resonating frequency of wire

  1. Aug 30, 2005 #1
    I have been tasked with a physics project at school, to investigate what factors affect the resonating frequency of a piece of wire. We arent told anything about the experiment, its a kind of research on your own thing. I know that the resonating part means the frequency at which the piece of wire will vibrate, but its how to test this by experimental means that has me a bit stumped. I know that resonance is usually about sound, so i guessing that to make it vibrate it will require something to generate sound of a certain frequency, perhaps a signal generator, or something like a tuning fork. Would i be correct in saying that perhaps tuning forks of certain notes could be one of these 'factors'. I have to devise several methods of carrying out this experiment, so any of you guys have any ideas??
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2005 #2


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    By 'factors' the question means 'properties of the wire'. The resonant frequency of the wire is a function of the properties of the wire, and not of external conditions. You want to devise a set of experiments that vary different properties systematically and record the change (if any) in the resonant frequency, as a result.

    Do you understand what the resonant frequency really is ? Can you come up with a list of properties that you think might affect the resonant frequency ?
  4. Aug 31, 2005 #3
    I think by resonant frequency it means the frequency of sound that makes the wire vibrate, its not something covered in my course, its something that I have to learn from textbooks and reference books, but it goes into far more detail than I can make sense of.

    I plan to carry out the experiment using a vibration generator, which will be attached to the wire. The wire will then be attached to a wheel of some sort that will allow weights to be attached in order to keep the wire tight.

    Regarding the factors, I have 3 so far, they are:-

    1) Length of wire used
    2) thickness
    3) tension the wire is under, varied by increasing the mass of the attached weights

    Any other suggestions regarding this?

    Thanks for any feedback given in advance.
  5. Aug 31, 2005 #4


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    how about the kind of material?
    Steel wire is easy to get (at music stores);
    Copper wire is also easy; aluminum should be findable.
    (Nylon fishing line isn't technically wire, but resonates.)

    If you use steel wire, a nearby magnet might influence it.
    A magnet might even influence an aluminum wire's resonance.

    have fun!
  6. Aug 31, 2005 #5


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    Good going, so far. What about material properties like density or the elastic modulus? Might any of them play a role ? Worth giving it a shot ?
  7. Sep 4, 2005 #6
    Thanks for the suggestions, I will check some of them out to see which are the most viable.
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