Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Quick Question on Frequency (just a theoretical question)

  1. Dec 1, 2008 #1
    Does gravitational acceleration have any effect on the frequency of a standing wave? I suppose it does-it probably affects the speed of the wave by hindering wavelength. So, if we went to the moon, and the gravity was considerably less on Earth, would the frequency of a standing wave be greater since the wavelength is smaller? I don't know, does this make sense? Am I right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What kind of standing wave? Light? Sound? A set of springs?
  4. Dec 1, 2008 #3
  5. Dec 1, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    The frequency of a sound wave is determined by density and pressure. Usually, one does not factor in gravitational effects ... I.e., the weight of, say, the air in a container, doesn't factor into the calculation in opposition to the density that is already considered, and the density shouldn't change, unless you are allowing your container to expand. I think this is actually a much more empirical question than theoretical question.
  6. Dec 1, 2008 #5
    The speed of sound in a gas is generally affected by the heat capacity ratio of the gas, the temperature and the its molar mass, none of which is related to the gravitational acceleration. Hence, the frequency of a standing wave should not change if the experiment is carried out on the moon (assuming that you conduct it in Earth-like conditions, i.e. same ambient temperature, same air composition)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook