How To Make A Wave Machine?


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James Harden answered
"The complexity of a wave machine can vary greatly, depending on its intended use and the skills and materials available to the builder. These instruments can be made as a craft, or as an advanced piece of experimental machinery. I shall assume that you do not wish to build such an advanced piece of machinery, so will head towards the craft side of this project, without compromising on the scientific integrity of this equipment.

A) Firstly, you should collect all the items you will need to construct the wave machine- a large, flat and preferably plain white tray (to fill with water), the rectangular block of wood (cannot be as long as the tray is wide), a very small electric motor (like the ones used in school experiments, as it will generate the waves),wires and a battery or power supply of some kind (to run the electric motor), two small hooks (to insert into the block of wood), string, a frame to hang the wood off of (possibly metal but that's up to you) and a lamp.

B) Hang the wooden block off of the hooks and string from the frame. Then place all of these components at one end of the tray, so that when the tray is filled with water, the bottom of the wooden block is just touching the surface of the water. Then attach the electric motor in such a way so that when it runs, its vibrations cause the wooden block to vibrate as well. You could even attach the motor directly onto the block, but again, this depends on your intended application of this machine. This is the most complicated stage of the build, so it may require some adjustments before being used properly, and of course, be very careful using electricity with water!

C) Turn on the lamp and position it directly above the tray. This is so that when the tray is filled with water, you can observe patterns in the shadows cast by them on the white bottom of the tray. This can be very useful if you intend to conduct experiments involving wavelength, wave patterns or frequency.

D) All that remains to do is to fill the tray with water and begin your investigations.

All the components used in this experiment should be available from school suppliers. If you need more information on any of the equipment or the experiment itself, then I would recommend searching for your nearest stockist online or perhaps local bookshop, which may provide text books that contain this experiment as well as further tips on how to collect and analyse the data produced by your wave machine.

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