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Speed of Sound in Air

  1. Apr 25, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I want to carry out an experiment in order to make accurate measurement of the speed of sound in air.

    Method:
    We will measure the speed of sound waves in air by measuring the time required for a short sound pulse to travel from its source to a receiver. This time interval is short and is
    measured with the help of an instrument called an oscilloscope. The experimental setup is shown in the figure below:

    [PLAIN]http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/8742/18948898.gif [Broken]

    The sound wave from T is picked up by a receiver (R).

    The transmitter & receiver have resonant frequency somewhere between 38 kHz to 42 kHz. Once we set the the signal generator to the resonant frequency, at which amplitude the wave length [tex]\lambda[/tex] of the sound can be measured this way: first adjust the position of R so that the two waves displayed on the oscilloscope are in phase ; second shif R backward or forward until the two waves are back in phase; third since R must have travelled by [tex]\lambda[/tex] to bring the two waves back in phase, the difference between the initial and final position of R is equal to one [tex]\lambda[/tex].

    (i) Come up with a systematic method to measure the wave length [tex]\lambda[/tex].

    (ii) Find the velocity using [tex]v=\lambda f[/tex]. Then list as many systematic errors as you can.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    (i) What is it meant by a "systematic method" for measuring the wave length? Is it reffering to an accurate way of measuring it (like repeating the experiment a few times and averaging the results)?

    (ii) I think the systematic errors in this experiment are related to the systematic errors in measuring the wave length. But I don't know what those errors might be ....

    What systematic error is the most significant?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2010 #2
    Any suggestions guys?
     
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