Physics - Standing waves in air columns
Standing waves in air columns
The principles of resonance can be similarly applied to air columns. The
idea is consistent with that observed with strings. A forcing frequency
occurs, and if this matches a natural frequency of the instrument,
resonance occurs and a loud tone will be heard. For this reason, playing a
wind instrument requires considerable skill.
It is more difficult to picture what is going on when standing waves are
formed in air columns, as there are no physical vibrations that can be
seen. It is beneficial to consider standing waves in air columns through an
examination of air pressure variations (later you will be expected to be
able to explain this phenomenon via displacement diagrams as well). The
term 'open-ended air column' refers to pipes that have an opening at both
ends. The term 'closed end air column' refers to pipes sealed at one end.
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