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AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

1. (a) State one difference between a wave pulse and a continuous wave.
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(b) Define the following measurements used to describe a wave:
(i) amplitude
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(ii) wavelength
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(iii) frequency
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(iv) period
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(c) Describe how a ripple tank can be used to:
(i) demonstrate the production of both a wave pulse and a continuous wave.
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Page 1

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

1. (c) (ii) measure the frequency, wavelength and speed of a water wave.
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Total 14 marks

Page 2

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

2. The two graphs below represent a progressive transverse wave:


Displacement
from
equilibrium

Displacement
from
equilibrium
Time

Distance from
source

(a) Label the following measurements on the appropriate graphs:


(i) Amplitude (yo)
(ii) Wavelength ()
(iii) Period (T)
(iv) Wave direction
(v) 1/frequency (1/f)
[6]
(b) Using the example of continuous waves travelling along a string, explain how data could
be collected to produce the two graphs of the wave shown above.
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[4]
(c) The diagram below shows a progressive transverse wave travelling at 5 cm s-1.
Draw on the same axes the position of the wave 0.5 s later.

Displacement
from
equilibrium
10

Distance from
source cm
[2]
Total 12 marks

Page 3

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

3. (a) State two examples of longitudinal waves (other than on a slinky spring).
1 ...........................................................................................................................................
2 ...........................................................................................................................................
[2]
(b) The diagram below represents a line of atoms through which a longitudinal wave is
transmitted from a vibration generator.
Time (s)
1

13

14

15

12

13

14

151

31

14

15

12

13

14

51

12

13

14

15

12

31

14

15

12

21

11

(i) Complete the last three rows of the diagram


[3]
(ii) Label any full compressions or rarefactions in the line when t =5s.
[2]
(c) Label the wavelength of the longitudinal wave in the following diagram:

[1]
Total 8 marks

Page 4

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

4. In this question take the speed of sound in air to be 330 m s-1 and the speed of light in
vacuum to be 3  108 m s-1
(a) Two people are talking via a communications satellite link between Birmingham and Manchester.
They both notice a short pause before the start of the reply. The satellite is positioned 4107 m
above the earth.
(i) Why does the pause occur?
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[1]
(ii) How long is the pause?
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[2]
(b) A starting pistol is fired at an athletics event. A spectator in the stadium hears the sound
0.3 s later than seeing the smoke from the gun.
(i) Explain the delay in hearing the sound.
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[1]
(ii) How far is the spectator from the starting pistol?
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Total 6 marks

Page 5

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

5. (a) Describe an experiment to measure the speed of sound using echoes.


This experiment should not involve the use of a microphone.
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(b) Suggest two assumptions made in the experiment.
1 ...........................................................................................................................................
2 ...........................................................................................................................................
[2]
(c) Fishermen locate the depth of a shoal of fish by sending a sonar wave pulse through the
seawater directly beneath the boat. The echo returns after 0.15s. The speed of sonar waves
through water is 1500 m s-1
(i) Calculate the depth of the shoal of fish.
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[2]
(ii) Why does the returning pulse last longer than the pulse sent out?
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Page 6

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

5. (d) Why is the speed of light more difficult to measure than the speed of sound?
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Total 14 marks

Page 7

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

6. (a) Using the concept of phase in your answer, explain what is meant by a wave front.
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(b) Explain the geometric relationship between a wave front and the wave direction.
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[1]
(c) Explain how continuous waves are generated in a ripple tank with:
(i) straight wave fronts
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(ii) circular wave fronts
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(d) A student observes waves in a ripple tank illuminated with a stroboscopic lamp. Explain
the following observations, referring to the strobe frequency and the wave frequency.
(i) a wave appears to be frozen.
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[2]
(ii) a wave appears to be moving backwards
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Total 10 marks
Page 8

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

7. In this question, take the speed of light as 3108ms-1.


(a) Using the definitions of frequency and wavelength, show that wave speed = frequencywavelength.
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[3]
(b) Radio West Midlands broadcasts on 95.6 MHz. Calculate the:
(i) wavelength of the radio waves
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[2]
(ii) phase difference between two points on the wave 0.78 m apart
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(c) A fizzy drink can bobs up and down in water due to waves travelling across the surface.
The waves travel at 0.7 m s-1 and have a wavelength of 0.5 m and an amplitude of 0.1 m.
Calculate the maximum velocity of the can.
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Total 11 marks

Page 9

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

8. (a) Explain qualitatively what is meant by diffraction of waves.


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[2]
(b) Draw diagrams to show how the diffraction of a plane wave front at a slit depends on
the width of the slit.

[4]
(c) A student looks through a pinhole in a card at a distant white light source. His partner places
red or blue filters in front of the source. Explain why the student should see a change in the
clarity of the source from one filter to the other. Which filter would give the sharper image?
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[3]
Total 9 marks

Page 10

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

9. (a) Explain what is meant by refraction of waves


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[2]
(b) Describe a ripple tank experiment to investigate the law of refraction for water waves.
Explain how you would arrange for the waves to be refracted, what measurements you
would make and what you would calculate.
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Total 9 marks

Page 11

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

10.(a) Complete the diagram below to show the wave fronts on water as they pass over a .boundary
into a shallower region of a ripple tank.

[2]
(b) The bottom of a pond has a shelf, which provides a deep and shallow region. .A water wave
of frequency 5 Hz is travelling through the deeper water making an angle of 50o with the boundary
between the deep and shallow regions. As the wave crosses into the shallower region it
changes direction and makes an angle of 60o to the boundary.
(i) Find the wavelength through the deep region if the wavelength in shallow water is 1.0m.
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(ii) Find the wave speed through each region.
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(iii) Find the refractive index of the shallower region if the refractive index of the deeper region is 1.0.
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Total 8 marks

Page 12

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

11.(a) Explain what is meant by superposition of waves.


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(b) Distinguish between constructive and destructive interference.
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(c) State two conditions necessary for sources of waves to be coherent.
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[2]
(d) Why is it necessary to have two coherent sources to produce an interference pattern?
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Total 10 marks

Page 13

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

12.(a) Mechanical waves are generated in a material medium by a repeated disturbance


caused by an oscillating body.
(i) What are the two oscillations that form electromagnetic waves?
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2 ...........................................................................................................................................
[2]
(ii) What is the geometrical arrangement of these oscillations with respect to each other?
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[1]
(iii) In what other way do electromagnetic waves differ from the mechanical waves
described above?
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[1]
(b) Name the main divisions of electromagnetic radiation in order of wavelength,
starting with the largest wavelength.
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[4]
(c) Select two of these types of electromagnetic radiation and state:
(i) The approximate range of their wavelengths
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Page 14

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

12.(c) (ii) A suitable source and detector for each.


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Total 14 marks

Page 15

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

13.(a) Define the terms node and antinode.


node ....................................................................................................................................
antinode ...............................................................................................................................
[2]
(b) Draw diagrams to show the positions of the nodes and antinodes in the vibrations of an
air column in a pipe closed at one end when vibrating:
(i) in its fundamental mode

[2]
(ii) in the first overtone.

[2]
Label the points A at which the air is moving with maximum velocity.
(c) Two identical progressive waves are travelling along the same straight line in opposite
directions.
(i) Explain how a stationary wave pattern is formed.
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[3]
(ii) Compare the amplitude and phase of particles along a stationary wave with those of a
progressive wave.
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Total 11 marks

Page 16

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

14.(a) To one significant figure, by what factor is the speed of light faster than the speed
of sound in air?
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[1]
(b) A typical human hearing range is between 20Hz and 20kHz.
Calculate the wavelengths of sound waves in air, which correspond to these frequencies.
Take the speed of sound in air to be 340ms-1
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(c) Use your answer to part b) to explain why everyday objects such as trees, people and
pieces of furniture, do not cast sharp acoustic shadows. An acoustic shadow is the
sound equivalent of a light shadow.
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(d) Name a wave effect that can be undergone by light but not by sound.
Briefly explain why this is so
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Page 17

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

14.(e) Musical instruments, such as pipe organs, employ resonating air columns contained in
pipes, which have one open end. Find the length of such an organ pipe given that it has
a fundamental frequency of 150Hz
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Total 11 marks


Page 18

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

15.(a) The orbit of Mars is quite eccentric (elliptical). The actual distance between Mars and the Sun
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11
ranges between 2.47810 m and 2.084.10 m.
To what extent will this change the intensity of solar radiation at the planets surface, at
noon, throughout the Martian year? Express your answer as a ratio of the maximum to
minimum intensities. Ignore any effects due to the atmosphere of Mars.
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26

(b) A star has a luminosity (i.e. power output) of 4.010 W.


The star is 50 light years from the Sun.
A telescope, of objective diameter 10cm, is pointed at the star for ten minutes.
Calculate the total energy from the star that passes into the telescope.
15
Ignore the effects of the Earths atmosphere. Take 1 light year to be 9.4610 m.
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Total 11 marks

Page 19

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

16.(a) Define the term resonance


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(b) Many musical instruments work by making columns of air resonate. In some organ pipes,
the column is open at both ends. Draw two sketches of such an air column showing:
(i) the fundamental (first harmonic)

[1]
(ii) the third harmonic

[1]
(iii) Label all the nodes and antinodes on your sketches
[2]
(c) Given that the length of an open pipe is 0.5m and that the speed of sound in air is 340ms -1,
find the wavelengths and frequencies associated with the two harmonics shown in part b)
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Total 10 marks

Page 20

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

17.(a) Draw a diagram to illustrate the oscillations that form an electromagnetic wave

[2]
(b) State three properties that all electromagnetic waves have in common.
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(c) Identify the types of electromagnetic radiation that have the following wavelengths:
-10

(i) 2  10 m ............................................................................................................................
[1]
(ii) 2cm ......................................................................................................................................
[1]
(iii) 1.5km ...................................................................................................................................
[1]
(iv) 500nm ..................................................................................................................................
[1]
(d) It is possible for hard X-rays to have the same frequency as soft  rays.
Give an example of how each could be produced.
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[2]
Total 11 marks

Page 21

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

18.(a) (i) Explain the term 'wave front'


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(ii) With the aid of a diagram explain the relationship between the orientation of a wave
front and the direction in which the wave is travelling.

[2]
(b) A longitudinal wave of frequency 30 kHz has a speed of 340m/s when travelling in air.
Its wavelength when travelling in water is 0.05m.
(i) Calculate the minimum distance between two points on the wave, which differ in phase
o
by /3 radians (60 ) when it is travelling through air.
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(ii) Calculate the speed of the wave in water.
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Page 22

AS level Physics

Waves

Questions

18.(b) (iii) A pulse of the wave last for 10ms. Calculate the number of complete waves that it contains.
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(iv) What type of wave is this?
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Total 12 marks

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