Uses an oscillator to generate standing waves in a string. Length, string tension and driving frequency can be adjusted. Mass of string is calculated.


  • Observe and understand resonance.
  • Observe, measure and manipulate standing waves in different harmonics.
  • Understand how the principle of superposition relates to standing waves.
  • Develop an understanding of the relationship between the mass and tension of a medium and the frequency, wavelength and velocity of a wave in that medium.

Links to Stage 6 Physics Syllabus Content

PH11-10/Wave properties:

  • Conduct a practical investigation involving the creation of mechanical waves in a variety of situations in order to explain:

              - The role of the medium in the propagation of mechanical waves.
              - The transfer of energy involved in the propagation of mechanical waves (ACSPH067, ACSPH070).

  • Construct and/or interpret graphs of displacement as a function of time and as a function of position of transverse and longitudinal waves, and relate the features of those graphs to the following wave characteristics:

              - Velocity
              - Frequency
              - Period
              - Wavelength
              - Displacement and amplitude (ACSPH069)

  • Solve problems and/or make predictions by modelling and applying the following relationships to a variety of situations:

PH11-10/Wave Behaviour:

  • Explain the behaviour of waves in a variety of situations by investigating the phenomena of:

              - Reflection
              - Wave superposition (ACSPH071, ACSPH072)

  • Conduct an investigation to distinguish between progressive and standing waves. (ACSPH072)
  • Conduct an investigation to explore resonance in mechanical systems and the relationships between:

              - Driving frequency
              - Natural frequency of the oscillating system
              - Amplitude of motion
              - Transfer/transformation of energy within the system (ACSPH073)

PH11-10/Sound waves:

  • Investigate and model the behaviour of standing waves on strings and/or in pipes to relate quantitatively the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of the waves that are produced to the physical characteristics (eg length, mass, tension, wave velocity) of the medium. (ACSPH072)