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Experiment of Melde

Model of the experiment of Melde: an electrical pulser, together with a wire, leads to a
pulley that holds a mass that causes voltage; each node is own of the standing wave.

The experiment of Melde is a scientific experiment realized by the German physicist

Franz Melde on the produced standing waves in a tense wire together with an electrical
pulser. This experiment could show that the mechanical waves undergo interference
phenomena. Mechanical waves traveling in opposite direction form immovable points,
denominated nodes. These waves were denominated stationary by Melde since the
position of the nodes and the belly (vibration points) remain static.

Table of contents
• 1 History
• 2 Principle
• 3 theoretical Analyzes
• 4 experimental Demonstration
o 4,1 Grafical analysis
 4.1.1 Dependancy of wave voltage-longitude
 4.1.2 Dependancy of voltage-longitude of wave to the squared one
o 4,2 Frequency of the standing waves
• 5 Influencia of the experiment of Melde at present
o 5.1 To sound
o 5,2 Ecografía
o 5,3 Telecommunications
o 5,4 Music
• 6 References
• 7 It is also seen

• 8 external Enlaces

The undulatory phenomena in the nature have been investigated during centuries, being
some of them some of the controversial subjects more of the history of science, so is the
case of the undulatory nature of the light. The light had been described by Isaac Newton
in century XVII by means of a corpuscular theory. Later the English physicist Thomas
Young, resisted the theories of Newton, in century XVIII, and settled down the scientific
bases that sustain the theories on the waves. At the end of century XIX, in the height of
the second industrial revolution, the entrance of the electricity as technology of the time
offered a new contribution to the theories on the waves. This advance payment allowed
Franz Melde to recognize the phenomenon of interference of the waves and the formation
of the standing waves. Later, in century XIX, the English physicist James Clerk Maxwell,
in his studies of the undulatory nature of the light, could express in a mathematical
language the waves and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Standing waves, each immovable point represents a node.

The produced mechanical transversal waves in a chord impelled by an electrical vibrator,

travel to a pulley that leads to the other end of the same, where a certain voltage on the
wire is produced. When being both waves traveling in opposite directions a phenomenon
of wave impedance takes place. When tightening itself appropriately the chord,
maintaining the distance between the electrical pulser and the pulley, take place standing
waves, in which points of their trajectory exist denominated nodes that remain

Theoretical analysis
The principle that Melde used in its experiment considered the supposition that a chord
has a despicable weight. Franz established that due to the curvature of the wire, the forces
directly are in fact not opposed.

Melde supposed two situations that happened in x-axis and. It suggested in x-axis is
displacement of the no portion of the chord and settled down the following report:

In the axis and, nevertheless, he vectorially decomposed to the forces based on the angle
produced by the same in the side of the curvature, obtaining these reports:

Scheme of the experiment of Melde showing a wire and the vectorial decomposition of
the operating forces exceeds he.

Franz established that the resulting force in the portion is:

nevertheless Melde suggested these angles can be small in the analysis reason why it
reformulated the previous expression in terms of the tangent of the angle.

From a mathematical analysis of this equation, Franz it established that it happened an

exchange in the angle as the wave continued with its route reason why it established:
Melde reformulated this last expression on the basis of differential terms to obtain one
more a more precise approach near real cases.

Melde changed to the parameter of the angle on the basis of its functional dependancy
with respect to the position and the time. Reason why it established that the tangent of the
angle would depend on the differential of a height with respect to the differential of the

By means of the differential calculus, Franz Melde established that the force depended on
the voltage and the partial differential of second order of the height of the wave with
respect to the position.

On the basis of the second law of Newton of the classic mechanics, Melde introduced the
parameter of the linear densidad and formulated this equation:

, that solving it is obtained,

Melde compared this last expression with the definition of the speed on the basis of
differentials of the calculation of Newton and by means of an alignment it established the
dependancy of the speed of the standing wave with respect to the applied voltage and the
linear densidad.

Finally, to the last equation it denominated speed of the standing wave, and on the basis
of algebraic calculations it established the speed in function: of the frequency, the
wavelength and the voltage applied on the wire that serves as conduction means of the

Experimental demonstration
In the existing conditions to the interior of a laboratory it is possible to reproduce the
experiment of Melde and to confirm what it was possible to be showed in century XIX.
The domestic electrical current owns a frequency of 60 Hertz. An acute observer could
predict that this is the same frequency that would undergo the standing waves.
Nevertheless, Melde correctly supposed that these waves undergo an interference at the
time of being when both travel in two-way traffic, reason why this initial frequency is
altered almost to the double.

An example of this experiment was realized in the laboratories of Physics of the

UNMSM, in 2006. And the reported results were the following.

Amount of Voltage elevated to the squared one
produced crests (n)
(m ²)
3 4,89 1,17 1,37
4 2,93 0,94 0,88
5 1,46 0,72 0,52
6 0,68 0,6 0,36
7 0,48 0,52 0,27
8 0,20 0,47 0,22

The term of the linear densidad that was used in the experiment was of.

Graph of the dependancy of wave voltage-longitude, the projected distribution is of

quadratic nature.

Grafical analysis

A very useful form that was used during study of the standing waves by Melde was the
analysis of the graphs that take place when registering the data. Since the straight lines or
curves obtained in a graph can predict the behavior of a phenomenon, this it was the
method that was used to know the frequency the oscillating waves.

Dependancy of wave voltage-longitude

The graph produced in the distribution of the data of voltage with respect to the
wavelength, is similar to a parabola. Melde could show that the existing report between
the voltage and the wavelength is of quadratic nature. This way establecíó that therefore
appears the behavior of the frequency in the standing waves.

Dependancy of voltage-longitude of wave to the squared one

The curves and outlines, are very useful to be able to recognize the behavior of a
phenomenon of the nature, but the scientists prefer to exclusively use the straight lines in
the prediction of a phenomenon since it is possible to predict which or what point, will be
the one that will come.

An example of it was the interpretation of the straight line from the curve that obtained
the scientists Leonor Michaelis and Maud Menten in 1910 when they studied the kinetic
one of the biochemical reactions.

Graph of the produced linear function of the distribution of the voltage with respect to the
squared one of the wavelength.

Melde found that, by means of the method of approach of square minimums applied in
the distribution of linear function of the wave voltage-longitude, it was possible to know
and to predict by means of the slope of that straight line the value of the frequency. In the
slope already they were including of statistical form, the phenomena produced by the
voltage applied in the wire and the waves brought about by the electrical pulser,
consequently, a mathematical description of all the phenomenon; just like he could
predict in his theoretical calculations.
Frequency of the standing waves

To the employed being the approach of minimums squared in the experiment of Melde on
the basis of the data reported by the wavelengths and the voltage, can be established that
the equation of the straight line that steers east model for this particular case is the
following one:

Like the value that accompanies the variable represents the value of the slope of a straight
line, that in this case does not happen through the origin of the coordinate system, is
possible to know the frequency the wave, from the report that Melde on the basis of the
differential calculus predicted.

If the report voltage and wavelength to the squared one expressed by the slope of the
straight line is;

then, replaced in the report of Melde

it is possible to reformulate the expression of Melde on the basis of the slope of a straight
line (m) obtained by means of the alignment of square minimums.

Therefore the value can be known the frequency a standing wave in the experiment of
Melde, knowing the slope and the term of the linear densidad. On the basis of those
calculations its value can be predicted. (Respecting the units of the international System.)

With this result it is showed that Melde was in the correct thing when suspecting that the
frequency is altered when happens the phenomenon of the wave impedance. In addition
this S-value almost the double of the frequency of the domestic electrical current.

Influence of the experiment of Melde at present

Although the experiment of Melde allowed to the reconaissance and study of the standing
waves, it was not limited that field. The standing waves are a phenomenon with very
important implicancias in the field of the acoustics and the phenomenon of the reflection
and constructive interference of the waves.

To sound

Main article: To sound

Produced standing waves to the encounter of two sonic pulses that are.

The sonar (acronym of Sound Navigation And Ranging) is, basically, a navigation
system and location similar to the radar but that, instead of to issue radio frequency
signals, issues ultrasonic impulses. The transmitter issues a beam of ultrasonic impulses
through transmitter. When they hit an object, the impulses are reflected and formed an
echo signal (standing wave) that is caught by the receptor.
Some animal own to sónar natural as it is the case of the dolphins. They use these it to
orient themselves in cloudy waters and to hunt surely.

They use it to the bats to orient themselves and to hunt in the dark, being issued short
ultrasonic vibrations that are reflected in the walls of the room or place in which they are
or in its prey.

Although the animal do not own an instrument channel that allows to locate the nodes or
anti nodes, their biological organs can distinguish the standing waves and thus to guide
themselves during the night or in the depth of the sea


Main article: Ecografía

Board of a ecografía apparatus/airplane, in the screen can be distinguished a fetus.

The ecografía is a radiology procedure that uses the echoes of a transmission of

supersonic waves directed on a body or object like data source to form an internal image
of the organs or masses with diagnosis aims. A small instrument similar to a called
microphone transducer issues waves of supersonic waves. These sound waves of high
frequency are transmitted towards the area of the body under study, and its echo is
received. The transducer picks up the echo of the sound waves (phenomenon of the
standing waves) and a computer turns east echo into an image that appears in the screen
of the computer.

The ecografía is a very simple procedure, in which radiation is not used, and it is not
limited the field of obstetrics, also can detect tumors in the liver, biliary vesicle, páncreas
and until inside the abdomen.


Main article: Telecommunications

When being realized a transmission of television or a radio communications or telephone,

takes place the standing waves. The radio frequencies of television, fax machines, mobile
telephony, and satelite transmissions take place in the electromagnetic field. The
electromagnetic radiation is a combination of oscillating and perpendicular and magnetic
electric fields to each other that propagate through space transporting energy from a place
to another one. Each point where both waves are represents a node. This superposition of
waves generates an effect of standing waves.


Main article: Wind instrument

Keyboard of an organ of the Basilica of San Martín in Germany: next to the keys, the
switches of the air passage can be seen for each tube.
The tubes of cane or other plants of hollow trunk, constituted the first musical
instruments. They issued sound blowing by an end. The air contained in the tube entered
vibration issuing a sound.

The modern versions of these wind instruments are the flutes, trompetas and clarinetes,
all of them developed so that the interpreter produces many notes within a wide range of
acoustic frequencies.

To the interior of the tube of an organ, the air is transformed into a jet in the crack enters
the core (a cross-sectional board to the tube) and the lip inferior. The air jet interacts with
the air column contained in the tube. The waves that propagate throughout the turbulent
flow maintain an oscillation uniform, producing standing waves in the air column,
causing that the tube sounds.





HARSH (091)
Table of contents
• 1 History

• 2 Principle

• 3 theoretical Analyzes

• 4 experimental Demonstration

4,1 Grafical analysis

4.1.1 Dependancy of wave voltage-longitude

4.1.2 Dependancy of voltage-longitude of wave to the squared one

4,2 Frequency of the standing waves

• 5 Influencia of the experiment of Melde at present

5.1 To sound

5,2 Ecografía

5,3 Telecommunications

5,4 Music

6 References
1. Frederick J. Bueche, Eugene Hecht (2005), Schaum's
Outline of College Physics, The McGraw-Hill Companies.

2. David Halliday, Robert Resnick, Jearl Walker (2004),

Fundamentals of Physics, Vol. 2, Wiley, John & Sons,




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