How a square or sawtooth wave can have a certain frequency?

However, in a real-world square or sawtooth wave, there is always some uncertainty in its frequency due to imperfections in the wave's generation and measurement. In summary, a square or sawtooth wave is made up of an infinite amount of sine waves, but the Fourier series allows us to mathematically analyze it. The frequency or period is usually determined by the fundamental harmonic, but in reality there is always some uncertainty due to imperfections.
  • #1
MrMuscle
12
1
Hello!

I know that a square or saw tooth wave consists of infinite amount of sinousoids each having different frequency and amplitude. But when I look at their plot they seem to have a well defined frequency or period. Which term in the Fourier series determines their frequency? Does a saw tooth or square wave have an uncertainty in its frequency? How can I calculate the frequency of such a wave?

Thanks for all the answers in advance!
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
You've got this somewhat backwards. The square or sawtooth wave is something we generate in the real world. It has amplitude, frequency, and so forth. The Fourier analysis gives us a mathematical way to analyze it. The map is not the territory.

An IDEAL square wave, for example, is in fact the same as its Fourier analysis says it is ... a sum of an infinite sequence of sine waves. No ACTUAL square wave is like that but we can pretend they are for the purpose of analysis.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn and MrMuscle
  • #3
What is called the frequency or period is usually that of the fundamental (lowest) harmonic.
 
  • Like
Likes MrMuscle

Related to How a square or sawtooth wave can have a certain frequency?

1. How is frequency determined in a square or sawtooth wave?

The frequency of a square or sawtooth wave is determined by the rate at which the wave repeats itself. This is typically measured in Hertz (Hz), which represents the number of cycles per second.

2. Can the frequency of a square or sawtooth wave be changed?

Yes, the frequency of a square or sawtooth wave can be changed by adjusting the rate at which the wave repeats itself. This can be done through various methods such as changing the voltage or using a frequency generator.

3. What is the relationship between frequency and wavelength in a square or sawtooth wave?

The frequency and wavelength of a square or sawtooth wave are inversely proportional. This means that as the frequency increases, the wavelength decreases, and vice versa. This relationship is described by the formula: wavelength = wave speed / frequency.

4. How does the shape of a square or sawtooth wave affect its frequency?

The shape of a square or sawtooth wave does not directly affect its frequency. However, the shape can indirectly impact the frequency by affecting the wave's amplitude or height. A higher amplitude can result in a higher frequency and vice versa.

5. What is the significance of frequency in square or sawtooth waves?

The frequency of a square or sawtooth wave is significant because it determines the pitch or tone of the wave. In music, for example, different instruments produce different frequencies, resulting in different pitches. In electronics, frequency is important for signal processing and communication purposes.

Similar threads

Replies
8
Views
15K
Replies
6
Views
988
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
139
Views
5K
Replies
4
Views
1K
Replies
78
Views
3K
  • Special and General Relativity
Replies
15
Views
1K
  • Electromagnetism
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
10
Views
2K
Replies
31
Views
5K
Back
Top