Physics Coursework Plan

Investigating how the velocity of water waves depends on the depth of water

Background knowledge

Speed (V/ms-¹) = distance (D/m) ÷ time (T/s)

Using this equation I can calculate the speed at which the water wave travels at. The deeper the water, the faster the water wave travels


I am going to investigate how the velocity of water waves varies on the depth of the water and will find the relationship between these two variables.


 I believe that when the depth of the water is increases the velocity of the water waves will increase in proportion. Average speed = distance ÷ time


  • Tray
  • Support stand
  • Stop watch
  • Ruler
  • Water


Variables and constants

The only variables of this experiment are to be:

  • The depth of the water
  • The velocity of the waves

The quantites which will remain constant are:

  • The temperature of the liquid
  • The type of liquid
  • The height at which the tray is lowered from
  • The number of waves recorded
  • The same tray is used

To ensure a fair experiment, I will record my results 3 times. This will also increase the reliabilty of my results. I will then be able to work out an average, removing any error results out of limit.

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Before taking any readings of the wave velocity I will measure the length and width of the tray and also see if the tray is flat on the bottom and along the sides. I will do this by placing 1cm depth of water into the tray, taking the measurements at either end and in the centre of the tray. I will then begin the experiment.


  1. Set up apparatus as shown in the diagram.
  2. Fill the tray with water at 5mm intervals
  3. Place the support tray underneath the tray (measured to be a height of ...

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A graph would definitely improve this report but the general approach to gathering data makes sense on first reading. The results are consistent with theory. Some further comments about uncertainties with the timing and measurement of depth could have been included. Overall a good report but missing key information. 3 stars