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I'm having MASSIVE confusion about harmonics and overtones of stopped pipes

  1. May 11, 2009 #1
    I feel like the various members of the world of physics don't agree upon what the values of n, harmonics, and overtones line up for STOPPED pipes where f n = nv / 4L

    According to my physics text book (University Physics Young and Freedman),

    for stopped pipes, 3rd harmonic = n is 3 = second overtone.

    HOWEVER, I got a question wrong on my second exam in General Physics because I believe my professor is one of those part of the confusion.

    I copied and pasted the following from the exam solution:

    QUESTION:The second harmonic (the second fundamental frequency) of a stopped (closed at one end) organ pipe is 172 Hz, the speed of sound is 344 m/s. How long is the pipe?

    The first harmonic corresponds to L = (wavelength) / 4, the second one to L = (3*wavelength) / 4

    When I was doing this problem, I was immediately confused because the question asks for the SECOND harmonic of a STOPPED pipe. According to what I understand, there IS no second harmonic and n goes straight from n = 1 to n = 3.

    Can some one please explain what is meant by second harmonic for a stopped pipe. Did my teacher screw up?
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  2. jcsd
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