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ABSTRACT. The velocity of sound varies with the medium where it travels.

The velocity of the sound in a

metal rod was obtained in the experiment by the application of the principles of the resonance. A metal
rod that is clamped at its midpoint is stroked in a lengthwise manner to produce friction and energy in a
form of longitudinal wave. A glass tube, containing lycopodium powder and is closed at its one end, is
connected to the metal rod through a disk which is not touching the tube. When the wave enters the tube,
it will agitate the dust inside and forms visible shapes of a wave. At the same time, the wave resonates
and results on producing sound as well as generating constant frequency. Measurements of the length of
the visible wave segments along with the length of the rod are done. The velocity of sound in air is also
measured by recording the temperature of the room. Using the data, the experimental value of vm is
obtained. Afterwards, a comparison with the theoretical value found in the book and with the value
obtained from the elastic property of the metal is accomplished. For each comparison, we had obtained a
percentage error of 0.429% and 1.35%, respectively, but still, lies within the velocity uncertainty range of
3460.09 m/s±58.31m/s.

INTRODUCTION Kundt’s tube is drawn on the next column for

During your childhood, have you ever been tried
to make a telephone toy using Styrofoam cup
and a very long string? You noticed that at a
certain distance, you still hear each other. Unlike
without it, you still need to shout just to hear
your friend. Generally, the speed of the sound is
faster in solids than in liquids and gases. You also
experienced that when you are in a baseball
game or sat far away from the stage during a
Figure 1. The complete diagram of a Kundt’s
concert, you may have noticed something odd.
You saw the batter hit the ball, but did not hear
the crack of the impact until a few seconds later.
Or, you saw the drummer strike the drum, but it The Kundt’s tube is a long narrow tube made of
took an extra moment before you heard it. It is glass that is close by a stopper at one end. It is
due to light is faster than sound which we are mounted in a certain metal bar frame so that it
used to see. can be adjusted vertically/longitudinally with
respect to the frame. A metal rod is clamped to
the support frame, exactly at the center of the
Sound surrounds us everyday. We may not
rod. The rod is clamped at the center to produce
notice it sometimes. Sound has great importance
a fundamental mode of vibration. This rod has a
in our daily life. We have learned that sound is a
disk at its one end. That is inserted into the glass
form of energy. It is produced by vibrations.
tube but it does not touch the tube. In addition,
Sound waves are propagated through longitudinal
the glass tube contains some dust inside which is
waves. They are also elastic waves hence they
distributed evenly in the entire length of the
need a material medium for their transmission.
They can not be transmitted in vacuum.

While the rod is stroked lengthwise with a cloth,

Sound travels in solids, liquids and gases. Their
longitudinal standing waves are observed to be
velocity is maximum in solids and least in gases.
formed from the dust inside. Those waves are set
We hear various kinds of sound in our daily life,
up in it with a minimum vibration (node) at the
pleasant sounds called the musical sounds,
clamped part (at the center) and maximum
unpleasant sound called the noise, loud sound,
vibration (antinode) at each end. Since the
high pitched sound etc. In this laboratory, we can
distance between two consecutive nodes or
be able to measure speed of sound using the
antinodes in a standing wave is exactly half of its
traditional method. The sound is allowed to travel
wavelength, then, the wavelength of the tone in
at solid and gas, particularly in a metal rod and
the rod is twice the length of the rod.
an air column. By that, frequency and the speed
of the sound can be obtained. This method is
called the Kundt’s tube method. A diagram of the
The sound waves are produced in the metal rod
as the powder in the cloth is being displaced as if vmλm=vaλa
its molecules are vibrating successively. Equation 3
Furthermore, the frequency of the vibrations in a
given metal rod depends on the length of the rod
Since for fundamental mode of vibration,
and the position of the clamp. The vibrations are
transmitted to the disk, which in turn transmits
them into the air column at the same or equal λ=2L Equation 4
frequency. The wavelength and velocity change
as the wave chain goes from one medium to
another, but the frequency is still consistent.

As the longitudinal waves leave the rod at the vm2Lm=va2La

end containing the disk, it will now proceed inside Equation 5
the tube. These waves act as a close pipe. In that
particular scenario, the wave is reflected on the
close end of the tube so that the air in the tube is Finally, we can get the velocity of sound in rod in
acted upon by two similar sets of waves terms of velocity of sound in air and the length of
travelling in opposite directions. Consequently, if the rod and the air column.
the distance between the disk and the close end
is such to produce resonance, that is when the
length of the tube is exactly a multiple of the half
Equation 6
of the wavelength, the cork dust will be agitated
at the antinodes positions and remain relatively
still at the nodes positions as to produce standing The velocity of sound in air varies with the
waves. For that, the length of one dust loop is temperature. Velocity is directly proportional to
one-half of the wavelengths in the air. the square root of the absolute temperature.

If we assign Vm as the velocity of sound in the v1v2=T1T2 Equation

metal and λm as the wavelength, the frequency f 7
is given by
By manipulation, we can simplify this equation
fm=vmλm Equation 1 into a linear equation. This equation is the best fit
linear equation with the original equation. The
revised equation is given below.
Again, when the rod is stroked lengthwise,
standing waves are set up in the vibration rod.
The vibration contains a node at the clamped part va=332ms+0.6T Equation 8
(at the center) and antinodes at both ends. On
the other hand, if we let va and λa to be the The best fit linear equation is exactly portrayed in
velocity and the wavelength, respectively in the the graph below.
air column at a specific temperature, then the
frequency is given by
Graph 1. Best fit linear graph of Equation 7
fa=vaλa Equation 2
The velocity v is the velocity of air at T,
For both metal rod and in air, the frequency is temperature in oC. On the other hand, the factor
the same because for sound waves, the 0.6, is the increase in velocity per second at T,
frequency is just dependent on its source. By temperature.
equating both frequencies, we can be able to
derive the relationship of the velocity and The velocity of a compression wave in a metal
wavelength of the sound for two different depends on the elastic properties and the density
mediums. of the metal and its value in meters per second is
given by
vm=Yρ Equation 6 instrument used in measuring the temperature of
the room.

Where Y is the Young’s modulus (coefficient of

Normally, we have to put the powder inside the
elasticity) and ρ is the density. Y must be
glass tube. But in the experiment, it is already
expressed in force unit per unit are, N/m2. In the
prepared by the laboratory assistants to prevent
experiment, we were using brass as the metal.
waste of materials. The powder is evenly
The value of the Y and ρ are shown below.
distributed throughout the tube. It is done to
make the wave visible later, that is in similar
Property Brass (Drawn and shapes and sizes. The kind of material where the
Compact) rod is made is to be recorded. The value of the
Young’ Modulus 1x1011 N/m2 constants, Y and ρ, for the specific material used
Constant are obtained using any form of resources.
Density 8580 kg/m3 Furthermore, the length of the tube is to be
measured using a meter stick. One must be
careful to see if the rod is clamped horizontally at
The aims of this experiment are to determine the
its center. This allows the experiment performer
velocity of sound in a metal rod and also to
to easily calculate the value of velocity of the rod.
determine the speed of sound in the tube
The rod has a disk at its one end inside the tube.
applying the principles of resonance.
This disk has not to touch the walls of the glass
tube. It must be leave free to vibrate. Also, it
METHODOLOGY should be necessary to measure and record the
temperature of the room, inside the tube or near
In this experiment we will be using the Kundt’s the apparatus itself.
Tube Apparatus, a meter stick, a piece of cloth, a
thermometer, rosin and lycopodium powder. After the preliminary assessment of the
apparatus, one may now proceed on vibrating
The Kundt’s tube consists of a long, narrow glass the rod. The rosin is initially rubbed on the cloth.
tube mounted in a metal frame case. A metal rod The rosin allows the cloth to produce friction with
(any desired material) is clamped in such a way the tube. The energy due to friction will serves as
that its end containing the disk is inside the tube. a wave. Strokes on the rod are done afterwards.
The rod can be clamped at any distance. It is ideal to do smooth, high-pitch tone stroke in
However, it is better to clamped it at the center a lengthwise manner. It is important not to let
to make the experiment not complicated. The the hand slip off at end of the rod. This is
Kundt’s tube is closed at one end by a stopper. because, it causes both ends of the rod to vibrate
The wave produced in this column follows the transversely, and the vibrating disk may break
wave behavior of the close type case. In vibrating the glass tube.
the rod, energy comes from the friction produced
by stroking cloth at the rod. To produce friction, When the dust inside the tube does not form
rosin is rubbed in the cloth. The waves produced visible waves, it is advised to adjust the air
inside after vibration is visibly seen through column by moving it towards the tube in a
agitation of lycopodium powder. All the lengths minimal distance. Continual adjustment can be
needed in this experiment is measured using the made until best resonance condition is achieved.
meter stick. A low accuracy instrument is just fit This happens when dust agitated formed perfect
with the waves which are measurable and looks exactly
experiment the same from one another. When the rod gets
because it is warmed greatly, we could cease the stroking and
not important let is cool for a while.
to measure
Another problem encountered in this experiment
is when one observed that majority of the dust is
concentrating on one side of the node. This can
be due to theFigure 3. Vibrating
apparatus is the
is the rod
horizontally. We can minimize this problem by
removing some dust.
Figure 2. The Experimental
Once satisfied with the visible waves formed, one
may now proceed on measuring the length of the
waves (wavelength). On measuring, the first dust
loop nearest to the disk of the rod is neglected. It DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
is an option to measure one, two, three or any
number of waves desired. However, it is more
The determined velocities of sound in both rod
accurate to measure many waves. From the
and in air are accompanied by the data obtained
measured distance, one is to determine the
in the experiment. The preliminary and the post
average half wavelength of the sound in air
data are presented in the table below.
column, La, by dividing it to the total number of
loops or segments measured.
Using equation 8, calculate for the velocity of IN SOLID
sound in air at the temperature recorded earlier.
length of metal rod Lr 91.5 cm
Once done, the value of the vm, or the velocity of
the sound in rod can now be obtained using average length powder 9.2 cm
equation 6. segments, La

From the table of velocity of sound in solid in the temperature of air t 26.5 °C
textbook, compare the obtained experimental
velocity of sound in air Vair 347.9 m/s
value with the theoretical value. In addition, the
experimental value can also be compared with
the value obtained in equation 9. The percentage
error gives us the numerical digit of the error While doing strokes on the rod, friction is
done in the experiment. Notice that the value produced between the cloth and the rod. As a
obtained in equation 9 is much smaller with the result, energy or disturbance will occur in a form
theoretical of longitudinal wave. The vibrations of the rod
value. To be are transmitted by the disk to the air in the glass
intact with the tube closed at one end. The waves set up in the
theoretical air in the glass tube have the same frequency as
value, it is those in the rod. Hence, a resonance will be
better to used formed and produces sound.

Figure 4. Measuring the

internet for the
more accurate The waves are reflected at the closed end of the
temperature of the room
value of Y and tube and the air in the tube is thus acted upon by
ρ. two similar sets of waves traveling in opposite
directions. Since the length of the air column is
When time permits, it is an option to repeat all some multiple of half wavelengths, the two
the measurements for another trial and record oppositely traveling waves produce standing
the results. waves.

The standing waves are characterized by

alternate points of maximum and minimum
disturbance called respectively nodes and
antinodes. These waves become visible after the
Brass Rod
Cloth w/
rosinw/ Lycopodium Powder dust inside the tube agitated in the antinodes and
remain still at the nodes.

Since the wave loops are visible, we can easily

measure its wavelength using the meter stick. As
we all know, all waves segments are in the same
sizes. Thus, we can measure the length of one
segment by measuring two or more segment and
get its average.
accurate because of few digits of significant
In that method, error can be minimized because figures. After obtaining the value, it is then
the uncertainty in measuring will be distributed compared with the value obtained earlier. Since
evenly along the whole segments. For example, if the constants are not that accurate, we can
we have a constant uncertainty of 0.3 cm. That is introduce an uncertainty value of about 3% of
for increasing no. of segments being measured, the original value. By doing that, we can observe
we can see a trend of the decrease in uncertainty that the velocity we had obtained in the first
produced. equation is still within the range.


Graph 2. Graph on relative uncertainty produced WITH THE VALUE OBTAINED USING EQN 4
versus the no of segment measured
velocity of sound in the 3413.944 m/s
rod Vr equation 4
In our data, we use 3 segments being averaged.
For three segments, we measured the length of Percentage error 1.35177 %
27.5 cm, which is 9.2 cm in average per
segment. Since one segment is half of the length
of one wavelength (two successive wave loops), The error in this part is quite small. By
then, we can easily solve the frequency of the considering the nature of the apparatus, we can
sound in air by determining the velocity of sound prove that uncertainty measurement is a small
in air. It is done by applying its linear relationship factor in the accumulation of the error; Since the
with the temperature. Kundt’s tube is a special apparatus made just for
this type of experiment, there is a great chance
As we all know, the apparatus is set in such a that the data obtained has a great accuracy when
way that the sound will be propagated on its we are using it. The possibility of having an
fundamental mode, where H = 1. After uncertainty is also diminished since the over all
completing all the necessary data, we can use set up is already prepared by the professional
equation 2 for the numerical value of the laboratory assistants. Probable source of error for
frequency. In the experiment, the sound wave the determination of velocity of the sound in
produced in rod and in air is in resonance, so metal rod are as follows:
their corresponding frequencies are the same.
For that, we can equate each frequency and [1] The tube is not horizontally placed in the
relate the velocity of sound in rod in terms of the table
frequency of the sound in air and the wavelength
[2] The tube is somehow open at the end
of the sound wave in the metal rod. The metal
where it should be closed
rod is clamped at the middle, so node will occur
[3] The uncertainty in measuring the length
at that point while antinodes will occur at both
ends, thus producing one segment of a wave.
Again, one segment is actually half of one Table 4. PERCENTAGE ERROR COMPARED WITH
wavelength. Since the relationship is completed, THE VALUE OBTAINED USING THE
we can now solve for the velocity of the sound in THEORETICAL VALUE IN THE TEXTBOOK
rod. Using our data, we had obtained the value of
velocity of sound in the rod Vr 3475 m/s
the velocity. It is shown below.

Table 3. VELOCITY OF SOUND IN ROD USING Percentage error 0.42899 %

of the segments by around ±0.15 cm
velocity of sound in the 3460.092 m/s
rod Vr equation 3

We can also calculate for the value of the velocity Using the theoretical value, using the textbook
of sound in metal rod using the elasticity (more accurate), we can also calculate for the
property of the metal used through the used of amount of error produced after committing
equation 9. The values for constants are not that
uncertainties in measuring. The table is shown ends. Also, if the same conditions is applied,
above. then,

It is glad to see that we got a smaller percentage vm2Lm=fa=va4La

error upon comparing it with theoretical value in La=2La originally
the textbook. It only means that our obtained
value is somewhat closer with the more accurate
So, we can also notice that the length of each
segment formed inside the tube is longer by a
factor of 2.
As we observed, the main passage of the
longitudinal wave from the rod to the tube is
When the metal rod, is cut into half, and use only
through the disk. We also notice that when the
one half of it, (still the clamp is placed at its
dust is agitated inside, the antinode starts from
original position), and also the temperature
the disk (and not a node) and a node is seen at
inside the tube is maintained at 0oC with only
the end of the tube. It signifies that the tube is a
hydrogen inside (vsound=1270m/s), then we may
close type air column. It is open at the side
observe that the waves are longer than before by
where the disk is located while closed at the
a certain factor.
other end.
By making an analysis on temperature, if the La=1270Lmvm=1270va beforeLa originally
experiment is done in a hot summer day, the
velocity of sound in air will be affected, so as to If we use the velocity of sound in rod obtained
the length of the segments formed. Since from the experiment which is 3460 m/s
(remember that the velocity of sound in a
va∝La particular metal is generally constant), then we
can say that

Then, we can say that when the temperature

goes higher, the length of the segments formed La=0.36La originally
will be much longer. More variation can be
discussed in this report. This allows us to study In our observations, we saw that the dust is
the flexibility of the experimentation and the accumulating on the node parts. It is because
apparatus itself, if still; the same result will be these parts are still and does not move at all.
obtained. When agitation happens, the movement of the
dust is not only sideward but also forward and
If the rod were clamped not at the center, for backward. Thus, the dust may be crowded on
instance, two clamps are placed at each one- those points, especially when the apparatus used
fourth distance from the end, we can observe is not horizontal. The movement of the dust
that the length of each segments will be shorter particle is more on a forward or a backward. As a
by half. This can be proven by considering the result, we can’t be able to measure the length of
frequency of the sound in rod. each segment accurately. Good thing that we
may diminish this effect by making the apparatus
horizontal or by removing excess dust particles.
In analyzing the relationship of elasticity of solid
At the same conditions given in the experiment
material and its density with the velocity of sound
(except for the clamping), we could say that,
in a metal rod, we can use the general formula,
where the velocity of sound in metal is directly
La=vaLm2vm proportional to the square root of Y (Young’s
La=12La originally Modulus) and inversely proportional to the square
root of its density.
On the other hand, if the stopper is removed
from the other end of the tube, open air column vm=Yρ
type of sound wave behavior will be produced.
So, we can observe that antinodes are on both
From that, we can say that when the material is inside the tube, the velocity of the sound in rod is
denser, the speed of the sound as it flows obtained.
through the material is slower, while on the other
hand, when the Young’s modulus constant of the This lab introduces us an important topic on
material is greater, then its velocity is faster. velocity of sound at a certain medium. Once the
relationship of velocity, wavelength and
The uncertainties in the result are from the frequency are established, we can be able to
measuring of the segment and the measuring of relate two different velocities at different
the length of the rod. If we put an uncertainty medium. It is done by applying the principle of
value for the ∆La=±0.15cm and for the length of resonance where frequencies of each
the rod of ∆Lm=±0.05cm, (but not much error on corresponding longitudinal wave are equal.
temperature so its effect is negligible)
This lab experiment also tells us the changes in
vm=F(va,Lm,La) velocity of sound in solid after varying the
position of the node (or the clamped part). When
the position of the clamp divides the rod in a
vm=vaLmLa certain segment, as the division increases, its
dvm=vadvmdLmLadLm+dvmdLaLmdLa velocity changes in an inverse proportional
The velocity of sound in an air column can be
=347.9ms0.05cm9.2cm+-91.5cm0.15cm9.2cm2 described as either open or close type. Its
significant difference is the behavior of the wave
produced, particularly on the position of the
∆vm=±58.31m/s nodes and antinodes. For a close type, which is
applied in the experiment, an antinode is seen on
In our theoretical value of 3475 m/s, the the open end while a node is seen at the close
obtained value of vm=3460.09 m/s±58.31m/s is end. The velocity of sound in an air column of
still within its range. this type is proportional to the frequency and
CONCLUSION twice the length of each segment.

This report has discussed the relationship of Besides from the application of the resonance,
velocity of sound in both gas (air) and solid velocity of sound in rod can also be evaluated by
(metal rod) through manipulation of certain considering the elasticity and density of the
condition to produce resonance. The goals of this material where the sound wave travels. The
lab were to obtain the velocity of sound in metal velocity is directly proportional to the Young’s
rod as well as the velocity of sound in the tube modulus of elasticity and inversely proportional
with the application of resonance. Those to the density of the material being used.
objectives were met by obeying the conditions
needed such as clamping the rod at its midpoint, Aside from the velocity of sound in metal, we
closing the one end of the glass tube while the learned that it is an important factor to consider
other end is free, and by making the disk in the the velocity of sound in air if we are to use the
rod not to be in contact with the glass tube. By resonance principle in the Kundt’s tube. The said
that means, the relationship derived in the velocity is somewhat linearly dependent with
equation given in the laboratory manual is temperature. So, for every rise in temperature
followed. per Celsius degree, the velocity of the sound is
increased by 0.6 m/s.
By constantly applying stroke on the rod, friction
is produced. So, longitudinal wave is produced. It The finding in the experiment for the value of
goes down the tube from the rod at equal velocity of sound in metal rod using the principle
frequency, hence making a resonance, and of resonance is 3460 m/s. When the uncertainties
produces sound. in measurements are considered, the velocity will
expand to a range of 3460.09 m/s±58.31m/s.
In keeping track of the length of the visible wave Using the elasticity property of the material,
pattern produced after the dust is being agitated brass, the velocity is 3414 m/s while using the
book as a reference; it is 3475 m/s. Upon Then I would like to thank my Professor, Mr. De
comparison with the experimental value, the Leon for guiding me and my friends throughout
error differences are 1.35% and 0.429%, the experiment. We had some difficulties in doing
respectively. However, the theoretical values lie this task, but he taught us patiently until we
within the range of uncertainty. knew what to do. He tried and tried to teach us
until we understand what we supposed to do in
REFERENCES order to have a highly accurate data.

[1] Young, H., Freedman, R., University Physics Lastly, I offer my regards and blessings to God
with Modern Physics, 11th Edition, 2004 who guides me to have an idea what to do during
the completion of the report.
[2] Bernard, C.H., Laboratory Experiment in
College Physics, 7th Edition, 1995 FREE SPACE
[3] Wilson, Jerry D., Physics Laboratory
Experiments, 6th edition, 2003 Our professor in Physics 3 Laboratory wonders
why I am still quantifying the error in the
[4] http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/ experiment. He wonder why do I have still a time
class/phscilab/kundt2.html doing it, given that we are in Mapua, which has a
busy and cramming environment.
[5] http://www.nikhef.nl/~h73/kn1c/praktikum
/phywe/LEP/Experim/1_5_06.pdf The simple answer for that is because I have a
simple reference. In this book, guidelines and
rules on propagation of errors is instructed. This
[6] http://dev.physicslab.org/Document.aspx
book is ideal on making a report, especially for
quantitative analysis (while in chemistry, it’s
usually qualitative). Without further a do, this is
how it works.

Assume the quantity C depends on the measured

quantities X and Y in some functional form
expressed as:
First of all, I am heartily thankful to my group
mates, Ninang Redden, Ms. Gimena, Ms. Ang and
Mr. Deduyo, whose encouragement, guidance
and support from the initial to the final level of
the experiment enabled me to finish the work in The total derivative of C is given by:
the lab as well as develop my understanding of
the topic. They are those who were doing the dC= ∂C∂XYdX+ ∂C∂YXdY
experiment with me and sharing their ideas. They
were helpful that when we combined and Assuming that errors are small so that we can
discussed together our own respective thoughts, neglect terms of higher order than the first,
we had this experiment done successfully. allows the use of errors in place of the
differentials (usually for infinitesimal changes).
Secondly, I would like express my gratitude for Thus we have:
giving me the strength and health to do this
report until it done. Not forgotten to my family
for providing everything, such as money, to buy
anything that are related to this project work and
their advise, which is the most needed for this ∆X and ∆Y are intermediate errors and thus the
project. They also provide me the internet, largest possible error is required. This value is
books, computers and all that as my source to given by:
complete this project. They supported me and
encouraged me to complete this task so that I ∆C=∂C∂X∆X+∂C∂Y∆Y
will not procrastinate in doing it.
Thus, the error propagated due to uncertainty in
measuring can now be a component of the ∆R=R∆XX2+∆YY2
desired value. It is also applicable to use a more
simple equation by assuming that each variable
And that is simple it is!!! 
propagates error at the same magnitude.