2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Computational and Optical Studies on the Vibrational Modes of a Tuning Fork
Abstract: Shattering of a crystal glass with sound resonance is a favorite demonstration of the first year physics or engineering student.  Unfortunately, many first year students find the demonstration entertaining and memorable, but fail to appreciate the richness of the underlying physics.  It is often in the upper level lab experience that these students eventually have a "Eureka moment" and the fuller understanding of the shattering glass is obtained [1].  Experimental studies on acoustic vibrations, commonly utilizing optical diagnostics techniques, have been a frequent part of the advanced undergraduate laboratory experience at Bethel. Recently, these studies have been complemented by parallel computational studies [2].

We present results from undergraduate studies on the vibrational behavior of a tuning fork.  Eigenfrequency analyses are carried out with COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling software and experimental optical studies utilize real-time stroboscopic holography.  Comparative studies for the two approaches are presented on the natural vibrational modes and frequencies of the tuning fork.  These studies demonstrate how the combination of computational modeling and optical diagnostics can provide a powerful blending of methods and can result in an enhanced upper level lab experience for students of applied physics, optics, and engineering.

1. R.W. Peterson, "Lighting the fire," AAPT Interactions, March/April (2007), 16-19.
2. K. Stein, R. Peterson, J. Houlton, J. Knapp, B. Peplinski, C. Scheevel, and D. Swenson, "Resonating with Students in the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory: Comprehending Acoustic Vibrations," COMSOL Conference, Boston, Massachusetts (2008).
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session IX - Effective Experiments Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Keith R. Stein
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul, MN 55112
Phone: 651-638-6173
Fax: 651-638-6001
and Co-Presenter(s)
Richard W. Peterson, Bethel University, petric -at- bethel.edu
Jack Houlton, Bethel University, jack-houlton -at- bethel.edu
Justin Knapp, Bethel University, justin-knapp -at- bethel.edu
Brandon Peplinski, Bethel University, brandon-peplinski -at- bethel.edu
David Swenson, Bethel University, david-swenson -at- bethel.edu
Christopher Scheevel, University of Minnesota, schee079 -at- umn.edu