Waves, Sound and Light: Wave Basics

Wave Basics: Audio Guided Solution

Problem 15:

Ryan and Carson attended their church's youth retreat at Camp Paradise this past fall. On Saturday afternoon they took a walk out to the harbor and watched incoming waves from Lake Michigan rock the boating piers up and down. Ryan and Carson observed that the piers made a complete up and down vibration cycle in 6.6 seconds. The piers were positioned a distance of 24 meters apart. When one pier was at a high position, the neighboring pier was at a low position and there was exactly one wave crest between them. Determine the wavelength, frequency and speed of the waves.

Audio Guided Solution

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Habits of an Effective Problem Solver

  • Read the problem carefully and develop a mental picture of the physical situation. If necessary, sketch a simple diagram of the physical situation to help you visualize it.
  • Identify the known and unknown quantities and record in an organized manner, often times they can be recorded on the diagram itself. Equate given values to the symbols used to represent the corresponding quantity (e.g., v = 12.8 m/s, λ = 4.52 m, f = ???).
  • Use physics formulas and conceptual reasoning to plot a strategy for solving for the unknown quantity.
  • Identify the appropriate formula(s) to use.
  • Perform substitutions and algebraic manipulations in order to solve for the unknown quantity.

Read About It!

Get more information on the topic of Waves at The Physics Classroom Tutorial.

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