Oscillations and Waves



  • Many lengths and diameters available inc. 3/4" dia., 10 ft. long brass spring, slinky springs of various lengths, and a slinky supported on a 6-ft curtain rod

Wave Motion

  • Pasco wave motion demonstrator

Waves and Interference

  • Ripple tank
  • Uses 2 transparencies on an overhead


  • Using tuning forks or two resonance bars

Standing Waves

  • Standing Waves - Using electrically driven tuning fork
  • Standing Waves - Using flame tube or table

Simple Harmonic Motion

  • Projection of the shadow of the handle on a moving wheel beside the shadow of a vertically moving spring

Sound Pipe

  • Twirl to produce different resonant tones

Lissajous figures

  • Welch sand pendulum
  • Electronic: 2 signal generators and a CRO 
  • 2 generators, mirrored speaker and laser system

Radio Waves

  • Radio waves transmitter and receiver

Producing Chladni's Figures

  • Round and square glass plates and bass bow - Leybold #41371 & #41497


  • Selection of tuning forks
  • Set of lead organ pipes
  • Galton's whistle - Cenco #85155
  • Adjustable wooden organ pipe
  • Marimba
  • Generators and speakers
  • 2 precision made bars on resonance boxes; one vibrates at 440 Hz, the other at 441 Hz
  • Pink/white noise box

Sound and Light in a Vacuum

  • Light and bell inside evacuated bell jar


  • Amplified sound from single guitar string under tension


  • Parametric Pendulum
  • Speed controlled, driven spring system

Decibels and Power

  • Object is to show that, when voltage goes up by square root of 2, decibels go up by 3.

Singing Rod

  • A long aluminum square rod held at the midpoint and stroked with a damp sponge


  • Simple brass bob
  • Wilberforce's pendulum - Leybold #34651 (ceiling mounted for use by small groups in R414)
  • Ballistic pendulum - Cenco #75425
  • Sand pendulum - Welch #0833 - shows Lissajous figures
  • Large ceiling mounted pendulum - available in R105 only
  • Coupled Pendulum - simple homemade

Critical Damping

  • Spring with suspended weights in beaker of water


  • Chaotic pendulum - home-made; clamps to bench
  • Magnetron - spin one rotor and observe; commercially made pair of magnetically levitated three-armed rotors;  magnets at arms end set to always repel
  • Inverted pendulum - sabre saw and lucite rod

Doppler Effect

  • Rotating whistle
  • Cassette tape of car horn

Ear Model

  • Take-apart model of the ear


  • The Pira resource directory for oscillations and waves.

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