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OCR (A) specifications: 5.3.

3a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i

Chapter 20
Superposition of waves
Worksheet
Worked examples
Practical 1: Determining the wavelength of microwaves
Practical 2: Stationary waves on a stretched string
End-of-chapter test
Marking scheme: Worksheet
Marking scheme: End-of-chapter test

Worksheet
Intermediate level
1
2
3
4
5

State the principle of superposition of waves.

[1]

Explain how a stationary wave may be formed.

[2]

Explain what is meant by coherent sources.

[1]

A stationary (standing) wave is formed on a rope. Describe how the amplitude


varies along the length of the rope.

[2]

The diagram shows an arrangement used to


demonstrate the interference of water waves.
a

Constructive interference occurs at point A.


What is the path difference of the waves
from the gaps S1 and S2?
[1]

The water waves have a wavelength of 3.0 cm.


Determine the path difference for the
waves arriving at point B. Name the type
of interference taking place at this point.
[3]

A
A

S
S11

S22

B
B

S
15.5
cm
S11BB===15.5
15.5cm
cm
S
14.0
cm
S22BB===14.0
14.0cm
cm

A two-slit arrangement is used to determine the wavelength of light. The


wavelength is given by the equation:

ax
D

Define the terms in the equation above.

[3]

Higher level
7

A microwave source is directed


towards a metal plate with two
narrow vertical slits. A receiver is
slowly moved along the line XY as
shown in the diagram.
a

Explain why the receiver


registers a series of maxima
and minima.

182

receiver

transmitter

4.0 cm

[3]

The wavelength of the microwaves


is 2.8cm. The separation between
the slits is 4.0cm and the receiver
is a distance of 80cm from the
slits. Calculate the separation
between adjacent maxima.
[3]
Describe the effect on your
answer to b when:

80 cm
slits
X

the separation between the slits is halved;

[1]

ii

the distance between the slits and the receiver is doubled.

[1]

Cambridge University Press 2005

20 Superposition of waves

The diagram shows a tube that is closed at one end.


a
b

75 cm

Suggest one method for producing a standing wave in the


air column of the tube.

[3]

The length of the tube is 75 cm. Calculate the fundamental


frequency for this tube. (Speed of sound = 340 m s1.)
[4]
tube

Extension
9

From OCR Module 2 you will be familiar with the idea that moving electrons
behave as a wave. The wavelength is given by the de Broglie equation. An atom of
hydrogen may be modelled as a positive nucleus with an electron wave trapped in
a small region of space. A very simplified model of the hydrogen atom is as follows.

The atom is one-dimensional.


The confined electron creates a stationary wave with nodes at the ends of
the atom very similar to a stationary wave produced on a taut string fixed at
both ends.

The diagram below shows the fundamental frequency for the confined electron.
atom

electron is a confined wave

a
b

The length or the diameter of the atom is L. What is the de Broglie


wavelength in terms of the length L?
Show that the kinetic energy Ek of the electron is given by:
Ek =

[2]

h2
8mL 2

where h is the Planck constant and m is the mass of the electron.

[3]

The diameter of the hydrogen atom is 1010 m. Determine the kinetic energy
of an electron within the hydrogen atom in electron-volts.

[3]

(m = 9.1 10

31

kg; h = 6.63 10

34

J s;

1 eV = 1.6 10

19

J.)
Total: Score:
36

20 Superposition of waves

Cambridge University Press 2005

183

Worked examples
Example 1
Two loudspeakers are connected in parallel to a signal generator set at 1000 Hz. A
student moving along a line at a distance of 5.0 m away from the loudspeakers notices
regions of loud and quiet sound. The distance between adjacent regions of loud sound is
2.1 m and the separation between the loudspeakers is 0.80 m. Use this information to
determine the speed of sound in air.
In order to determine the speed, we need to calculate the wavelength of the sound
emitted from the loudspeakers.

You must appreciate that this is a question on the


interference of sound from the two loudspeakers.

ax
D

a = 0.80 m

x = 2.1m

D = 5.0 m

0.80 2.1
= 0.336 m 0.34 m
5.0

The speed v of the sound is given by v = f . Hence:


v = f = 1000 0.336 = 336 m s1 340 m s1
speed of sound in air 340 m s1

Tip
You can derive a single equation for the speed of sound using v = f and =

ax.
D

These two equations give:


v=

fax
D

Example 2
The diagram shows a stationary (standing) wave in an open
tube. What is the frequency of the tuning fork? (Speed of
sound in air = 340 m s1.)

= 45
2
= 45 2 = 90 cm

45 cm
tuning
fork

(0.90 m)

The separation between neighbouring nodes (or

antinodes) =
2

The frequency f of the stationary wave is given by:


f=

Therefore:
f=

340
380 Hz
0.90

184

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20 Superposition of waves

Practical 1
Determining the wavelength of microwaves
Safety
Anyone with an artificial pacemaker must not get too close to the transmitter. Microwaves
are quite dangerous. Keep a safe distance between your eyes and the transmitter. Teachers
and technicians should follow their school and departmental safety policies and should
ensure that the employers risk assessment has been carried out before undertaking any
practical work.

Apparatus
two-slit arrangement
microwave transmitter
microwave receiver with output
displayed on a microammeter (100 A)

two metre rules


connecting leads

Introduction
In this experiment you will determine the wavelength of microwaves using the equation:

ax
D

Procedure
slits

The two-slit interference arrangement is


described on page 175 of Physics 1. The main
features of the experimental setup are shown.

receiver

microwave
transmitter

1
2

Place the transmitter at a distance of about 30 cm from the two slits.


Secure a metre rule to the bench at a distance of about 50 cm from the two slits.
The rule must be parallel to the slits.

Move the receiver slowly along the length of the metre rule. The microammeter will
show a series of minima and maxima. Mark crosses on the rule at the points where
the receiver registers a maximum signal.

4
5
6
7

Determine the separation x between two adjacent maxima.


Measure the distance D between the slits and the metre rule.
Measure the distance a between the centres of the two slits.
Calculate the wavelength of the microwaves using:

ax
D

How does your value compare with the actual value given by the manufacturer?
(The wavelength is typically 2.8 cm.)

Guidance for teachers


The above procedure may be adapted to determine the wavelength of light from a laser.
The interference pattern is formed on a distant screen. Students will have to be given
the separation a between the two slits. The distance D between the screen and the slits
can be in the range 2.0 m to 6.0 m. Laser light is dangerous. Students must wear safety
goggles and must not look directly into the laser beam.
20 Superposition of waves

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185

Practical 2
Stationary waves on a stretched string
Safety
There are not likely to be any major hazards in carrying out this experiment. However,
teachers and technicians should always refer to the departmental risk assessment before
carrying out any practical work.

Apparatus
pulley
light string or rubber cord
3 N weight

signal generator and mechanical vibrator


metre rule
clamp stands

Introduction
In this experiment you will use an arrangement known as Meldes experiment to
determine the speed of transverse waves on a stretched string. The arrangement of
the experiment is shown in figure 20.28 on page 184 of Physics 1.

Procedure
The speed v of the transverse wave on a stretched string is given by:
v = f
where f is the frequency of the mechanical vibrator or the frequency of the waves
produced on the string and is the wavelength of the transverse waves on the string.
For a stationary wave, the separation between adjacent nodes (or antinodes) is

equal to .
N
A
2
fundamental

overtones

The diagram shows the stationary patterns


formed on the stretched string.

Slowly increase the frequency of the signal generator until the fundamental pattern
is formed. Note the frequency f, measure the separation between two adjacent nodes
and determine the wavelength of the transverse wave on the string.

Repeat the procedure above for the first, second, third, etc. overtones. Record your
results in a table.

f (Hz)

Separation between two nodes (m)

(m)

v (ms1)

How is the frequency f of the stationary wave related to the number n of loops and
the fundamental frequency f0?

For each stationary wave pattern, determine the speed of the transverse wave on
the string using v = f.

The speed of the transverse wave on the string is independent of the wavelength or
the frequency. Do your results support this statement? What is the speed of the
transverse wave on the string?

186

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20 Superposition of waves

End-of-chapter test
Answer all questions.

1
2

Explain what is meant by the interference of waves from two sources.

[2]

A taut string is fixed between two ends. The diagram below shows the string
displaced vertically.

plucked string

stationary wave

60 cm

When the string is released, a stationary (standing) wave of fundamental frequency


is produced between the two fixed points.
a

Explain how a stationary wave is created on the taut string.

[2]

Complete the diagram above to show the stationary wave created. Mark the
positions of the nodes (N) and the antinode (A).

[3]

The length of the string is 60 cm and it vibrates at a frequency of 36 Hz.


Determine:
i

the wavelength of the transverse wave on the string;

[2]

ii

the speed of the transverse wave on the string.

[2]

The diagram shows an arrangement


used to determine the wavelength of
light from a laser.
a
b

Explain the purpose of the two


narrow slits.
Dark and bright fringes are
observed on the screen. What
is the phase difference of the
waves arriving at the centre
of a dark fringe?

4.0 m

[1]

laser

laser light

[1]

slits

screen

The separation between the slits is 0.25 mm and the screen is at a distance
of 4.0 m from the slits. The separation between adjacent bright fringes is
1.0 cm. Determine the wavelength of the light from the laser.

[3]

The distance between the screen and the slits is decreased. Describe the
effect this has on the appearance of the fringes. Explain your answer.

[2]

Total: Score:
18

20 Superposition of waves

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187

Marking scheme
Worksheet
1

Principle of superposition: When two waves meet, the net displacement at a point
is equal to the algebraic sum of the individual displacements at that point. [1]

A stationary wave is the result of the superposition of two waves [1] of the
same wavelength (and hence frequency) travelling in opposite directions. [1]

3
4

Coherent sources emit waves with a constant phase difference. [1]


At the nodes, the amplitude of the stationary wave is zero. [1]
Moving from a node towards an antinode, the amplitude increases to a maximum
at the antinode. The nodes and the antinodes are equally spaced. [1]

The path difference is equal to a whole number of wavelengths. [1]

Path difference = S1B S2B [1];


The path difference is

path difference = 15.5 14.0 = 1.5 cm [1]

, hence destructive interference takes place at B. [1]


2

a = separation between the two slits. [1]


x = separation between adjacent maxima (or minima) of the interference pattern. [1]
D = separation between the screen and the slits. [1]

The microwaves are diffracted at the two slits. [1]


Beyond the slits, the waves interfere. A maximum signal is registered when the
waves interfere constructively. [1]
A minimum signal is registered when the waves interfere destructively. [1]

D 2.8 80
=
[1]; x = 56 cm [1]
a
4.0

ax
[1];
D

x=

D 1
; hence as a is halved, x is doubled (112 cm). [1]
a
a

ii

x=

D
D ; hence as D is doubled, x is doubled (112 cm). [1]
a

x=

Place a loudspeaker at the open end of the tube and connect it to a signal
generator. [1]
Adjust the frequency of the sound [1]
until you hear a loud sound coming from the tube. [1]
(As an alternative, you can use a selection of tuning forks.)

Length of tube =
v = f

188

so

so

75 =

v 340
f= =
[1];
3.0

Cambridge University Press 2005

[1]; = 300 cm = 3.0 m [1]


4

f = 113 Hz 110 Hz [1]


75 cm

20 Superposition of waves

[1]; hence = 2L [1]


2

L=

Ek =

mv 2 p2
=
[1];
2
2m

Ek

(h/)2
h2
h
=
2 (de Broglie equation: = ) [1]
2m
2m
p

Using the answer from a, we have: Ek =


c

Ek =

h2
8mL2

so

Ek =

(6.63 1034)2
[1]
8 9.1 1031 (1010)2

Ek = 6.04 1018 J [1]; Ek =

20 Superposition of waves

h2
h2
[1]
2=
2m(2L) 8mL2

6.04 1018
38 eV [1]
1.6 1019

Cambridge University Press 2005

189

Marking scheme
End-of-chapter test
1

Interference is the superposition of waves [1]


from two coherent sources. [1]

Waves travel towards the fixed ends and are reflected. [1]
These reflected waves superimpose to produce a stationary wave pattern. [1]

Correct shape of the pattern [1]

A
N

Nodes (N) shown [1]


Antinode (A) shown [1]

60 cm

Separation between adjacent nodes =

[1]
2

= 60, = 2 60 = 120 cm (1.2 m) [1]


2
ii

v = f = 36 1.2 [1]; v 43 m s1 [1]

The laser light is diffracted at the narrow slits. The diffracted light then
interferes in the space beyond the slits. [1]

Phase difference = 180 (or radians) [1]

ax
[1]
D

a = 0.25 mm

=
d

D = 4.0 m

0.25 103 1.0 102


[1];
4.0

x = 1.0 cm

= 6.25 107 m 6.3 107 m [1]

The separation between the dark (or bright) fringes decreases. [1]
This is because the fringe separation x is directly proportional to the distance D
between the slits and the screen. That is:
x=

190

D
D [1]
a

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20 Superposition of waves