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# OPTICS AND SOUND

## Jodie Parsons STUDENT

Abstract:
Two experiments were carried out:- one to measure the
speed of sound, and another to determine the refractive
indexParsons
of glass.
Jodie

Contents
Background Knowledge......................................................................................... 2
Longitudinal Waves................................................................................................ 2
Speed of a wave.................................................................................................... 3
Reflection of Sound................................................................................................ 5
How temperature affects sound waves..................................................................5
Aim........................................................................................................................ 6
Hypothesis............................................................................................................. 6
Apparatus.............................................................................................................. 7
Method................................................................................................................... 7
Table of results....................................................................................................... 7
Conclusion............................................................................................................. 8
Evaluation.............................................................................................................. 8
An Experiment to Determine the Refractive Index of glass................................9
Background Knowledge......................................................................................... 9
Refraction of light.................................................................................................. 9
Angle of incidence............................................................................................... 10
Snells Law............................................................................................................ 11
AIM:..................................................................................................................... 12
Hypothesis:.......................................................................................................... 12
Equations being used:......................................................................................... 12
Apparatus............................................................................................................ 12
Method:............................................................................................................... 12
Data:.................................................................................................................... 13
Conclusion:.......................................................................................................... 13
Evaluation:........................................................................................................... 14
References........................................................................................................... 15

Background Knowledge
Sound travels in mechanical waves, this is a disturbance that transports energy
from one place to another through a medium. The disturbance is usually a
vibrating object and the medium is a series of interactive particles. Sound can
travel through solids, liquids and gases. There is no sound in the vacuum of
space because there are too few molecules to propagate a wave.

Longitudinal Waves
Sound waves are longitudinal, in a longitudinal wave the particles vibrate parallel
to the direction the wave is travelling in, for example if the wave is travelling
horizontally, the particles will be compressed closer together horizontally or
expanded horizontally as they go along (called rarefaction) The particle
movement is a series of compressions and rarefactions, some earthquake waves
behave this way.

(2centsapiece.blogspot.co.uk, 2016)

## Humans can hear sound between 20 and 20,000Hz. Herts is a frequency

measurement. It measures how many cycles of a wave occur in 1 second. A
wavelength is the distance between 2 compressions or 2 rarefactions in the
wave. Frequency is not a measure of the speed of sound, because that is
dependent on the medium through which the wave propagates. It is also not a
measurement of power, this is because the energy of a sound wave depends
on its amplitude. Waves with a greater amplitude, are stronger.

## The graph shows how displacement of particles varies along a wave.

The graph above shows how displacement of particles at a point varies with
time. The time period of a wave can be found by measuring the time between
two identical points along the wave . (S-cool.co.uk, 2015)

Speed of a wave
Calculation
Speed=distance/
time

Speed =
wavelength/peri
od

Description
The wave speed is measured as the distance travelled by
the crests or trough in a given time interval. The
relationship is similar to the relationship of speed, distance
and time in the classical physics.
This equation is known as the wave equation. It states the
mathematical relationship between the speed (v) of a wave
and its wavelength () and frequency (f). Using the symbols
v, , and f, the equation can be rewritten as
v=f
(Nde-ed.org, 2016)

## Does frequency affect a

sound wave?

The speed of the wave is not affect by its wavelength and its
frequency. Rather the speed of wave is not affected by the
characteristics of the wave but by the characteristics of the
medium in which it is traveling. The wave speed is not
affected by the frequency of the wave. For a sound wave the
denser the medium the faster the wave will travel.
Factors Affecting Wave Each particle vibrates in a medium by itself. The phenomeno
Speed: of wave is produced by each and every particle in the
medium and is connected to its neighbour by some bond, lik
elastic forces. The speed of the wave through the medium is
determined by a competition between two factors:
1. The elasticity factor: In the medium with high density, the
particles are bonded more closely and hence the wave trave
at the faster rate in these mediums, this also applies to a
higher temperature.
2. The inertia factor: When the density is high it is very
difficult to avoid the effect of inertia between the particles
and hence they compromised the speed gains due to the
denser medium.

## The speed of wave is the trade-off between these two factors

of the medium in which wave is traveling.

Reflection of Sound
Reflection of
sound:

Sound absorption:

## Reflection is responsible for many interesting phenomena. Echoes are the

sound of a voice reflecting back a humans ears. The sound heard in an
auditorium after the band has stopped playing is caused by reflection off
the walls and other objects. A sound wave will continue to bounce around
a room, or reverberate, until it has lost all its energy. A wave has some of
its energy absorbed by the objects it hits. The rest is lost as heat energy.
Everything, including air absorbs sound. An example of air absorbing
sound waves happens during a thunderstorm. When close to a storm, you
hear thunder as a sharp crack. When the storm is farther away, a person
can hear a low rumble instead. This is because air absorbs high
frequencies more easily than low. By the time the thunder has reached a
person, all the high pitches are lost and only the low ones can be heard.
The best absorptive material is full of holes that sound waves can bounce
around in and lose energy. The energy lost as heat is too small to be felt,
however it is detectable by scientific instruments. (Nde-ed.org, 2016)

## (Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu, 2016) Image showing the angle of incidents and how

perpendicular reflections lead to standing waves.

Aim
The aim of the experiment is to measure the speed of sound over a distance of
two meters, the time taken will be calculated and the speed of sound can then
be worked out by the equation d=s/t

Hypothesis
The speed at which sound propagates is directly influenced by both the medium
through which it travels and the factors affecting the medium, such as altitude,
humidity and temperature for gases like air. The speed of sound is calculated by
the distance travelled over time. In dry air at 20 oC the speed of sound is
343.2ms. Therefor I predict the sound travelled through the air in a room of 26 OC
will approximately be 346.6ms. I have calculated that an increase in 0.6 OC may
increase the speed of sound by 003.4ms by using the equation below. If
temperature increases by 1oC the sound travels 0.6ms faster
The approximate speed of sound in dry (0% humidity) air, in meters per second,
at temperatures near 0 C, can be calculated from:
v = 331m/s + 0.6m/s/C * T (Nde-ed.org, 2016)
V is the speed of sound and T is the temperature, so the calculation is as follows:
331m/s + 0.6m/s/C x 26 = 346.6ms

I therefor predict the average speed will be 346.6ms through the air in the
laboratory. I also predict that a vast amount of human error may alter my results.

Apparatus
2 x microphones
Metal plate
Electronic stop
clock

2 x meter length
rulers
Hammer
Sound operated
switches

Method
1. Two microphones were set at a distance of 2 meters apart, this was
measured by 2 x meter length rules across a table in the laboratory
2. A metal plate and hammer was used to produce a sound. The metal plate
was held at a distance close to the first microphone and then hit with the
hammer. The variables of the distance of the plate and force of the
hammer hitting the plate were kept as constant as possible.
3. Once the sound has been made, the sound arrives at the first microphone
switch on the clock and the same sound travels to the second microphone
switch located 2m apart from the other and switches it off.
4. The clock displays the time for the sound to travel the 2m distance.
5. The speed of sound can then be calculated using the formula s=d/t
Diagram

Microphone
Table

2m distance

## The self-drawn diagram above shows the layout of the experiment.

Table of results
Trial number

Distance (m)

1
2
3
4
Average:

2
2
2
2

Time taken
(seconds)
5.9 x 10-3
5.8 x 10-3
5.7 x 10-3
5.8 x 10-3
5.8 x 10-3 (0.0058
seconds)

Speed of
sound (m/s)
338.9
344.8
350.9
344.8
344.85

Speed Of Sound

## The graph shows that

fastest sound waves

355
350
345
340
335
330

## The graph shows how the

speed of sound changed with every trial run

Conclusion
The data shows that the speed of sound on average is 344.85m/s. This is close to
my hypothesis, as I predicted the speed of sound would be 346.6m/s, this was an
estimate as the temperature of the room was not certain, but the results confirm
the prediction. The data shows fluctuations in the speed of sound picked up by
the microphone, one result showed a speed of 350.9m/s and another at
338.9m/s. The reason for the differences in the speed could be because of
limitations to the experiment. Other research suggests that the speed of sound
changes as the temperature of the air changes. This could be a reason as to why
there are different results at every trial run. If air temperature increases, the
speed of sound increases. This is because faster moving molecules transfer
energy more quickly.

Evaluation
The data seems to be consistent with other research, but the different speeds
recorded are more than likely due to inaccuracies. Human error could account for
the changes in speed. The speed in which the hammer hit the metal plate could
produce a louder sound (amplified sound), meaning the vibrations set off by it
were different each time, however usually only very high energies will affect the
speed of sound. Another limitation to this experiment is that sound reflects off
objects. Sound follows the law of reflection. The reflected waves can interfere
with incident waves, producing patterns of constructive and destructive
interference. This can lead to resonances called standing waves in rooms. This
means that sound intensity near a hard surface, which the experiment took place
on is enhanced because of reflected waves. An object also absorbs some of the
wave. This could have affected the results.

## An Experiment to Determine the Refractive Index of glass

Background Knowledge
The refraction of light is what enables an animal to see objects. Light is a
transverse, electromagnetic wave that can be seen by humans. The wave nature
of light was first illustrated through experiments on diffraction and interference.
Like all electromagnetic waves, light can travel through a vacuum. The
transverse nature of light can be demonstrated through polarisation.
Light is produced by one of two methods
Incandescence is the emission of light from hot matter (T 800 K).
Luminescence is the emission of light when excited electrons fall to lower

energy levels
(Lcogt.net, 2016)

Refraction of light
When light passes from one medium (material) to another it changes speed. This
is because the speed of a wave is determined by the medium through which it is
passing. When light speeds up as it passes from one material to another, the
angle of refraction is bigger than the angle of incidence:
For example, this happens when light passes from water to air or from glass to
water.
The diagram shows light
incident on water and air.
(Bbc.co.uk, 2016)

Angle of incidence
Angle
of
Inciden
ce and
critical
angle:

At the interface between two materials, the angle of refraction cannot be greater than
90.
When the angle of refraction is equal to 90, the angle of incidence is called the
critical angle.
At any angle of incidence greater than the critical angle, the light cannot pass through
the surface - it is all reflected.
This is called total internal reflection.
Total because all of the energy is reflected.
Internal because the energy stays inside the material.
Reflection because the light is reflected.
The relationship between critical angle and

Refracti
ve
Index:

refractive index is

The speed of light is determined by the medium (material) through which the light is
travelling. Light travels faster in a vacuum than it does in any other medium. Light
changes speed as it passes from one medium to another. This is called refraction. The
frequency of light does not change as it refracts. Refractive index of a material is a
measure of the change in speed of light as it passes from a vacuum into the material.

In the equation above, v1 is the speed of light in a vacuum. The bigger the refractive
index the slower the light travels in that material.
When a ray of light is incident at normal incidence, (at right angles), to the surface
between two optical materials, the ray travels in a straight line. (Bbc.co.uk, 2016)

When the ray is incident at any other angle, the ray changes direction as it refracts.
A change in direction of the ray depends on the speed of the light and can be used to
calculate the refractive index by using the formula:
(Koppglass.com, 2016)

Snells Law
Snell's Law states that the ratio of the angle of incidence to the angle of
refraction of a wave as it travels through a boundary between two media is a
constant termed the refractive index. The value of this constant is equal to the
ratio of speeds before and after it crosses the boundary.

Critical Angle
Equation
Sine of the critical angle = the refractive index going from an optically dense to
an optically rare medium.
Total internal refraction

Description
Refraction can occur when light travels from a
medium of larger to smaller index. The light
ray can actually bend so much that it never
goes beyond the boundary between the two
media. This case of refraction is called total

internal reflection.
(Math.ubc.ca, 2016)

(Math.ubc.ca, 2016)

AIM:
The aim of the experiment is to determine the refractive index of glass.

Hypothesis:
Due to the theory that light bends when it passes from a less dense medium to a
denser medium, the light ray from the light box will bend as it goes from the air
into the glass box. Hence refraction of light will be seen.

## Equations being used:

Sine i/sine r

Apparatus
Glass Block
Light ray box
Protractor
Light slit

Paper
Ruler
Pencil
Power supply

Method:
1. Place a glass block on a sheet of plain paper and using a pencil, draw
around the block
2. Mark and label points of the angle needed to be measured. Mark where
the critical angle is.
3. Position the ray box an angle to the block so that the light ray enters the
block perpendicular to where the glass block is.
4. When the incident ray is refracted mark a point at both ends of the
incident ray.
5. Using a pencil, also mark where the light ray leaves the block.
6. Remove the light box and the block and draw in the light ray.
7. Measure the angle of incidence and angle of refraction using the
protractor.
8. Repeat steps at different angles.
Self-drawn diagram showing the layout of the experiment
Light box
Angle of
incidence

Glass
block
Angle of
refraction

Paper

Data:
Angle of
Incidence
(degrees) i
20
40
60
80

Angle of
refraction
(degrees) r
13
26
34
47

Sine i

0.342
0.643
0.866
0.985

Sine r

0.225
0.438
0.559
0.731
Mean:

N sine I /
sine r
1.52
1.47
1.55
1.35
1.47

The graph shows the results of sine i/sine r against the angle of incidence.

Conclusion:
The data collected relates to the aim, as the angle of incidence and the angle of
refraction, are obtained and were able to be used, to find the relationship
between both sets of results. Snell's law gives the relationship between angles of
incidence and refraction for a wave impinging on an interface between two
media with different indices of refraction.. My results show that as the angle of
incidence increases, the angle of refraction also increases proportionally to the
increase of incidence. This is because of Snells law. Snell's Law determines the
angle of refraction based on the angle of incidence: sin(1)n1=sin(2)n2 where
1 is the angle of incidence, n1 is the index of refraction for the original medium,
2 is the angle of refraction, and n2 is the index of refraction.

Evaluation:
There are a number of limitations with this experiment. The beam that was
projected was quite thin, making it difficult to mark an accurate point for the
reflective angle. The protractor, only measures to an accuracy of 1 degrees
which may cause the results to be a little inaccurate. The reflective light ray was
thick, and may have caused a difference in the angle measured. Human error
may account for the uncertainty of the data shown, this is because making
precise markings of the light rays was difficult.
Image showing the experiment. (Images.tutorvista.com, 2016)

References
References

## Bbc.co.uk. (2016). BBC - Higher Bitesize Physics - Refraction of light : Revision.

[online] Available at:
[Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

## Bbc.co.uk. (2016). BBC - Higher Bitesize Physics - Refraction of light : Revision,

Page2. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

## Grc.nasa.gov. (2016). Nasa. [online] Available at:

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k12/VirtualAero/BottleRocket/airplane/Images/sound.gif [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

## Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu. (2016). Reflection of Waves. [online] Available at:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/reflec.html [Accessed 9 Jun.
2016].

## Images.tutorvista.com. (2016). [online] Available at:

http://images.tutorvista.com/content/refraction-light/refractive-index-proof.jpeg
[Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

## Lcogt.net. (2016). electromagnetic waves. [online] Available at:

http://lcogt.net/files/styles/fourcol-image/public/spacebook/Electromagnetic
%20waves_0.png?itok=FJgH1k1_ [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

Math.ubc.ca. (2016). Snell's Law -- The Law of Refraction. [online] Available at:
https://www.math.ubc.ca/~cass/courses/m309-01a/chu/Fundamentals/snell.htm
[Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

Nde-ed.org. (2016). Reflection of Sound. [online] Available at: https://www.ndeed.org/EducationResources/HighSchool/Sound/reflection.htm [Accessed 9 Jun.
2016].

## S-cool.co.uk. (2015). Sound Waves | S-cool, the revision website. [online]

Available at: http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/physics/uses-of-waves/revise-it/soundwaves [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].