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Velocity of a wave in a tank at varying depths of water

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Introduction

AS Physics coursework

Gregory Lewis 12B

Velocity of a wave in a tank at varying depths of water

An investigation into how the velocity of a wave is affected by varying the depth of the water it travels through.

A tray was filled to a certain depth with water and one end raised to 45mm above floor level. The tray was placed on a folder 45mm high for each experiment so the height from which that end of the tray is dropped remains the same throughout the series of experiments. The sliding out of the folder from under the tray and the starting of the stopwatch was simultaneous so the delay in starting the stopwatch due to human reaction time was approximately cancelled out by the time taken for the tray to fall the 45mm from atop the folder. A folder was selected to hold up the tray because it could be removed, thus allowing the tray the fall, without changing the height of the fall or creating small ripples across the surface of the water which could compromise the reliability of the investigation

Once

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Middle

15

4.11

4.13

4.19

4.15

4.15

4.11

4.14

20

3.83

3.80

3.81

4.02

3.73

3.79

3.83

25

3.40

3.38

3.32

3.44

3.42

3.38

3.39

30

3.04

3.06

3.23

3.11

3.03

3.07

3.09

Average    = time taken for wave to traverse the tray once

    4

Depth of water

5mm

10mm

15mm

20mm

25mm

30mm

Average time taken to cross tray once(s)

1.88

1.11

1.04

0.96

0.85

0.77

Then to find the speed of the wave, the length of the tray was divided by the time taken for each wave to cross the tray once. This can be shown by the equation

Speed = distance / time

5mm =    35.5 = 18.

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Conclusion

Due to the relative crudity of this experiment it has limitations. It cannot used to calculate the precise speed of the waves as this would require far more accurate sensors to detect when the wave has reach an end. Also it could not be used for very small amounts of a liquid due to the fact that when level the fluid would be too shallow to even support a wave. This means that we cannot find out whether the statement made for the conclusion continues to be accurate at very large and very small depths. The line of the graph might perhaps level off at either end.

If the investigation were to be performed again then laser sensors would be used to detect precisely when the wave reached an end and it would be linked electronically to a timer to find the precise time when the wave had had completed the 4 lengths. Using these devices would also lessen the effect of random error

Sources:    Internet = http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/watwav.html

               Books  =  AS ‘Salters & Horners’ Advanced physics

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