Waves on a String

Be sure the simulation has finished loading before you begin. Applets courtesy Wolfgang Christian


The two graphs are plots of the wavefunctions f(x,t) and g(x,t), the displacement of a wave on a string, as a function of x, the distance along the string and time, t. You may click and drag inside the animation to read the coordinates in order to obtain numerical values for use in your equations. Time is in units of seconds, the vertical (f) is in units of mm, and the horizontal (x) is in units of meters.

You can change the function g(x,y) by entering an equation into the box and clicking the "Enter" button. The function can include variables x and t, functions such as sin, cos, exp, sqrt, and operators +, -, *, and /.

Running the applet Initially you see a snapshot of the string at time t = 0. "Forward" shows the wave as time increases, "Reverse" runs time backwards, "Stop", "Reset", and the "Step" buttons are self-evident.

  • From the simulation determine: (a) the amplitude, (b) the wavelength, (c) the direction of motion, (d) the speed, and (e) the period. You can put these into the function to see if your bottom wave matches my top wave.

Test your function here. g(x,t)=