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Wave is when one particle passes its motion to its neighbour.

The Elasticity and Inertia of the medium play important role in the propagation
of wave. The elasticity brings the particle momentarily at rest in their extreme positions,
while inertia carries them across their equilibrium positions.
The phase difference between two neighbouring particles must depend on their
interaction (nature of bonding)

Transverse Wave - Only in solids (having rigidity), in liquids possible only on the
Longitudinal Wave

Wave transmits only their motion and not the

particles themselves.
Wave transmits energy and momentum.

A) Writing a wave equation

y = a sin t
At present
y = a sin (t x/v) [for Harmonic wave]. In general, y = f (vt x)
= a sin 2 (t x/v)
= a sin 2v/(t x/v)
= a sin 2/(vt x)

t x)
= a sin 2/(
= a sin 2(t/T x/)
You need to mug up only this > y = A sin (t kx)

Here y can be a) Displacement (in that case it is called a Displacement Wave, b)

pressure Difference (pressure wave Ex. Sound Wave), c) E- Field or B-Field (EM Wave)

The 4 equations

y = A sin(t kx)

y = A sin(t + kx)

y = -A sin(t kx)

y = -A sin(t + kx)

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 1

Few Terms:
a) Amplitude, A
b) Time period, T
c) Frequency, f or ; = 2
d) Phase: In y = f (vt x), phase is vt x. For any point, this quantity is constant.
Putting vt x = constt, phase vel. or wave velocity is obtained by dx/dt = v
e) Wavelength, ; propagation constant, k = 2/
f) Particle velocity, dy/dt = A cos(t kx) = A2 cos(t kx),
g) maximum particle velocity = A
h) Wave speed Vw = = /k = In general dx/dt
i) particle acceleration, maximum particle acceleration
[IIT84] A transverse wave is given by y = yo sin 2(ft x/). The max. particle velocity
is equal to four times the wave velocity if _____ ( = yo/2)

Q. Given Ey = 3 sin 2(4z 2t). Find direction of a) propagation, b) oscillation of E and

of B, c) values of , k, d) speed of wave

[IIT screening 2004] A source of sound of frequency 600 Hz is placed inside water.
Speed of sound in water is 1500 m/s and in air is 300 m/s. The frequency of sound
recorded by on observer who is standing in air is _____ (600 Hz, as frequency does not
change from one medium to another)
[IIT2005, 2M] A harmonically moving transverse wave on a string has max. particle
velocity and acceleration of 3 m/s and 90 m/s2 respectively. Velocity of the wave is 20
m/s. Find the waveform. [Ans. y = (0.1) sin [(30 t + 1.5x + )]

Relation between Vp, Vw, slope etc.

y = A sin 2/(vt x) = A sin(t kx)

Particle velocity, dy/dt = Aw cos(t kx) = A2f cos(t kx)
Slope, dy/dx = -Ak cos(t kx) = -2A/ cos(t kx)
dy/dx represents strain or compression. When dy/dx is positive a rarefaction takes place, when
dy/dx is negative a compression takes place.

So, particle velocity dy/dt = -V (dy/dx) = wave velocity x slope of displacement curve

2y 2 y
Differentiating twice we get V
t2 x2

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 2

Other Forms:
The general form of a wave travelling towards right is y = f (vt x)
The general form of a wave travelling towards left is y = f (vt + x)
So, general form of a progressive wave is y = f (vt x).
It has to be x + vt, x vt, vt + x, vt x. so (x vt)2 and (x vt) represent wave but x2
v2t2 does not. Also it has to be finite everywhere at all times. If it is in form of vt x ot
vt + x then its direction of propagation can be straightway made out.

Its differential forms are (means that if a function satisfies these conditions, then it
represents a wave):
y y
t x
2 y
t2 x2
Q. Which of the following represents one-dimensional wave equations?
a) y = 4 sin x cos vt, b) y = 9 sin 2x cos vt, c) y = x2 v2t2, d) y = 2x 5t
2y 2 2y
a) = - V y, = - y. Hence it represents a wave motion.
t2 x2
2y 2 2y
b) = - V y, = - 4y. Hence it does NOT represents a wave motion.
t2 x2
2y 2 y
c) = - 2V , = 2. Hence it does NOT represents a wave motion.
t2 x2
y y
d) = - 5, = 2. Hence it represents a wave motion with v = 5/2.
t x

[IIT99] y(x, t) = represents a non-periodic travelling pulse. What is the
(4 x 5t ) 2 5
velocity of the pulse and its direction of motion? What is the maximum displacement (or
amplitude) in this moving pulse? [1.25 m/s, -ve X-axis as it is of form x + vt, 0.16
m]Bring it in form of x + vt by taking 4 common.
Q. If at t=0 a travelling pulse is described as y = 6 / (x2 + 3), what will be the amplitude
and wave function representing the pulse at time t, if the pulse is propagating along
positive x axis with speed 4 m/s? [6/3 = 2 m, y = 6 / [(x - 4t)2 + 3]
Q. If y = 3 / (2x + 3t)2 determine the wave velocity and its direction of propagation.
[1.5 m/s, towards ve x-axis as it is of form x + vt]
Q. y = ln (x + vt) and y = 1 / (x + vt) do not represent wave as they are not finite for all
values of x and t.

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 3

B) Speed of mechanical waves
for transverse waves (on a String), v = (T/) [Derivation on pg. 307, HCV1]
Diagram of sonometer experiment
T might have to be found (ex acc sys in sono expt)
T might be diff at diff pt (vertical string with mass)
Instead of Mg, it might be P pulling it
for longitudinal waves
v = (E/) . For waves passing through solids and liquids, E = B,
for 1-D (waves in a rod) E = Y
For gases v = (Newtons formula)

Laplaces correction, v =

[IIT96] The extension in a string obeying Hookes law is x. The speed of the transverse
wave in the stretched string is v. if the extension in the string is increased to 1.5x, the
speed of the transverse wave will be ____ (1.22 v)

Factors affecting speed of the wave

Effect of temperature using PV = nRT, V =
Effect of Pressure If T is constant, then velocity is independent of Pressure
Effect of Humidity The presence of moisture in air decreases the density of air. So
velocity of sound in moist air is more than V in dry air.
Effect of frequency No effect

[IIT 1984, 6M] A uniform rope of length 12 m and mass 6 kg hangs vertically from a rigid support. A block
of mass 2 kg is attached to the free end of the rope. A transverse pulse of wavelength 0.06 m is produced at
the lower end of the rope. What is the wavelength of the pulse when it reaches the top of the rope? [Ans.
0.12 m]

Energy, Intensity, Power transmitted along the string by a sine wave: Covered later

For a point source I 1/r2

For a cylindrical source I 1/r

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 4

C) Interference of Waves
First we discuss, superposition of two waves, moving in the same direction, differing in
phase by .

y1 = A1 sin (t kx)
y2 = A2 sin [(t kx) + ]
The result is that the interference of two waves gives rise to another wave of
Amplitude R = A12 A2 2 2 A1 A2 cos
R is max. when = 0, 2 , 4 In general, =2n where n = 0, 1, 2, 3
& the maximum value of R is, Rmax = A1 + A2
R is min. when = , 3 , 5 In general, =(2n-1) where n = 1, 2, 3
& the minimum value of R is, Rmin = A1 A2

Q. If A1 and A2 are given, find the ratio Rmax / Rmin

Q. If Rmax / Rmin is given, find ratio A1/A2
As Intensity I = kA2 , so the same questions can be asked in terms of I1 and I2 also.

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 5

Reflection and Transmision

[NOTE wave gets reflected from BOTH denser as well as rarer medium. Proof Total
Internal Reflection. Actually at the INTERFACE, both reflection and transmission
occurs. How much of which one occurs depends!]

Rarer Denser

Incident wave Transmitted wave

y = Ai sin (t x/v1) y = At sin (t x/v2)

Reflected wave
y = -Ar sin (t + x/v1)


Denser Rarer

Incident wave, Ai Transmitted wave, At

Reflected wave, Ar

NOTE Phase change of occurs only when reflection occurs from a denser medium
In case of a string Rarer medium might mean a thin string, and a denser medium mean
a thick string.
Also reflection from a very-very dense medium might be reflection from a fixed end (the
wall to which the string is fixed acts as the denser medium). Reflection from a very-very
rarer end might mean a free end.

V2 V1 2V2
Ar = Ai At = Ai
V2 V1 V2 V1

In case of sound, a closed end of a pipe corresponds to fixed end of a string, an open end
of pipe corresponds to free end of a string.

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 6

Let us now consider superposition of two waves moving in opposite directions, either
reflected from a denser medium or from a rarer medium. Lets also assume that the
amplitude of incident and reflected wave remain the same (A)

y1 = A sin(t + kx) y1 = A sin(t + kx)

y2 = - A sin(t - kx) y2 = A sin(t - kx)
Ex. Wave on a guitar string Ex. Holding string in hand

|y| = 2A sin(kx) cos(t) |y| = 2A cos(kx) sin(t)

Here y represents the resulting displacement due to two waves, of a particle at x, at time t
It is an SHM of amplitude 2A sin(kx) or of 2A cos(kx) [Amplitude depending on position
x of the particle] Proof the motion of particle at sin(kx) = 1 is y = - 2A cos(t)

Discussions for Standing waves

Case 1 (Reflection from a free end) y = (2A cos kx)(sin t)
This is SHM [Single sine function in time] The term 2A cos kx represents the amplitude.
1. All points do not have the same amplitude. The value of amplitude ranges from 0 to
2A. In general, amplitude , A = 2A cos(kx)
2. There are some points (some values of x) for which cos kx is zero. For these points, y
= 0, whatever be the value of t. (So these points never move. These are the points whose
amplitudes are zero). These are called nodes. So the positions of nodes are obtained by
putting cos kx = 0.
3. There are points (some values of x) for which cos kx = 1. For these points amplitudes
are maximum (equal to 2A). These are called anti-nodes.
4. There are times when sin t = 0. At these times, y = 0 for any value of x. So all points
pass through the mean position together.
5. There are times when sin t = 1. The displacements of all particles at these times
depends on their position and is equal to their amplitudes. So, all particles reach their
extreme positions together.
6. All particles between two nodes, move in the same direction. After that (on the two
sides of a node) the particles move in different directions.

[IIT88] A wave y = a cos(kx wt) is superimposed with another wave to form a

stationary wave such that x = 0 is a node. The equation for the other wave is _____

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 7

Now, let us learn how to draw standing waves.
[Then we will calculate their frequencies]
Rules for drawing standing waves
Rule 1 A Fixed end has to be a Node.
Rule 2 Between two Nodes, there must be an anti-node, and vice-versa.
Rule 3 A free end has to be an anti-node.

Case 1 String fixed at both ends

1st Harmonic OR
Fundamental Note

2nd Harmonic OR
1st Overtone

Case 2 String fixed at one end,

other end is free
3rd Harmonic OR
1st overtone

5th Harmonic (2nd & 4th are missing)

2nd overtone

Case 3 String free at both ends.

1st Harmonic OR
Fundamental Note

2nd Harmonic OR
1st Overtone

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 8

Let us now calculate the frequencies of various modes drawn above for string.

If both ends are free, OR if Both ends are fixed (i.e Both Ends are similar)
Fundamental note, 0 = v/2L
And all Harmonics are present. (2nd harmonic means 2 x 0,
3rd harmonic mean 3 x 0 etc.
Harmonic mean that multiple of fundamental frequency ex. 7th harmonic is 7 x 0
As All harmonics are present, so the 1st overtone is the 2nd harmonic, the 2nd overtone is
the 3rd harmonic etc.

If one end is fixed and the other end is free

Fundamental note, 0 = v/4L
And only ODD Harmonics are present. (i.e. 3rd, 5th, 7th etc.)
As only ODD harmonics are present, so the 1st overtone is the 3rd harmonic, the 2nd
overtone is the 5th harmonic etc.
[OVERTONE means the next possible standing wave]

For a rod fixed in between, the ends will always be anti-nodes, and the fixed point in
between will be a node.

For sound waves, instead of displacement, we talk of pressure difference. The discussion
is exactly the same except that nodes and anti-nodes interchange their positions.

In case of Resonance with Sound waves in organ pipes, there are only two cases
Both Ends open [Open Organ Pipe] or One End Closed [Closed Organ Pipe]

A closed end is a Displacement Node [pressure anti-node]

An open end is a Displacement Anti-Node [pressure node]

End Correction in an organ pipe at the open end [Resonance Experiment]

For each open end e = 0.6r.
for a closed pipe, L L + e
for an open pipe, L L + 2e

BEATS (Superposition of two waves of slightly different frequencies, moving in the

same direction)
If there are two sources of frequencies n1 and n2, then number of Beats
n = | n1 n2 |
It means that n times in a second that there will be waxing and waning of sound.
It is also referred to as Beat Frequency.

Filing a tuning fork: Frequency of tuning fork increases

Loading a tuning fork: Frequency of tuning fork decreases

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 9

[IIT81] A cylindrical tube, open at both ends, has a fundamental frequency f in air. The
tube is dipped vertically in water so that half of its length is in water. The fundamental
frequency of the air column is now ____ (f)
[IIT86] A tube closed at one end and containing air produces the fundamental note of
frequency 512 Hz. If the tube is opened at both ends the fundamental frequency that can
be excited (in Hz) is _____ (1024 Hz)
[IIT88] An organ pipe P1 closed at one end vibrating in its first harmonic and another
pipe P2 open at both ends vibrating in its third harmonic are in resonance with a given
tuning fork. The ratio of length of P1 and P2 is ______ (1/6)
[IIT95] An object of specific gravity is hung from a thin steel wire. The fundamental
frequency for transverse standing waves in the wire is 300Hz. The object is immersed in
water so that half of its volume is submerged. The new fundamental frequency in Hz is
2 1 1/ 2
____ {300 [ ] }
[IIT96] An open pipe is suddenly closed at one end with the result that the frequency of
third harmonic of the closed pipe is found to be higher by 100 Hz than the fundamental
frequency of the open pipe. The fundamental frequency of the open pipe is __ (200Hz)
[IIT98] A string of length 0.4m and mass 10-2 kg is tightly clamped at its ends. The
tension in the string is 1.6 N. Identical wave pulses are produced at one end at equal
intervals of time t. The minimum value of t which allows constructive interference
between successive pulses is _____ (0.10 s)
[IIT2000] Two vibrating strings of the same material but of lengths L and 2L have radii
2r and r respectively. They are stretched under the same tension. Both the strings vibrate
in their fundamental mode. The one of length L with frequency 1 and the other with
frequency 2. The ratio of 1/ 2 is ____ (1)
[IIT2002] A sonometer wire resonates with a given tuning fork forming standing waves
with five antinodes between the two bridges when a mass of 9 kg is suspended from the
wire. When this mass is replaced by mass M, the wire resonates with the same tuning
fork forming three antinodes for the same position of bridges. The value of M is __(25kg)
[IIT2006] A massless rod is suspended by two identical strings AB and CD of equal
length. A block of mass m is suspended from point O such that BO is equal to x.
Further it is observed that the frequency of 1st harmonic (fundamental frequency) in AB
is equal to 2nd harmonic frequency in CD. Then the length BO is Ans. L/5


x L-x


Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 10

The pressure wave in detail: Let us consider two cross sections of area A at x and x+x.
If they travel different distances in time t then compression or rarefaction takes place.
Lets say plane1 travels distance y, then dy/dx represents rate of change of displacement
with distance. So the displacement of plane2 is y +(dy/dx) x.

The change in volume between the planes can be shown to be (dy/dx) Ax.
Volume strain = change in volume / Initial volume = [(dy/dx) Ax] / [Ax] = dy/dx

As the wave has created a volume strain in air between the planes, so there is variation of
pressure too. From B = stress / strain = -p / (dy/dx) where p is excess pressure, change
in pressure (or excess pressure), p = -B (dy/dx)

dy/dx also represents the slope of the displacement wave. Hence in pressure wave
(longitudinal wave) the slope of displacement curve dy/dx measures pressure change
(compression or rarefaction) at that point. When dy/dx is negative, p is positive
(compression); when dy/dx is positive, p is negative (rarefaction)

Let us consider y = A sin 2/(vwt x)

If p is the instantaneous change in pressure at point x, then
p = -B(dy/dx) = (-B) [-2/] A cos 2/( vwt x)
2 Vw 2 A
= (-Vw2) [-2/] A cos 2/( vwt x) = cos 2/( vwt x)

= po cos 2/( vwt x),
2 Vw 2 A
where po = = 2 A Vw represents the pressure amplitude.

The pressure wave is 90o out of phase with displacement wave i.e. when displacement at
a point is zero, the pressure change is maximum and vice-versa.
By measuring dy/dx at different points x on a displacement curve, the corresponding
values of p = -V2 (dy/dx) can be obtained. Then a curve may be plotted between p and
x. This would be the pressure curve.

Kinetic Energy per unit volume = (1/4)2A2

Potential Energy per unit volume = (1/4)2A2
Total Energy per unit volume (Energy Density) = (1/2)2A2 = 22 2 A2

Energy Current or Wave Intensity : All progressive waves transmit energy. The energy
flowing per second per unit area perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation is
called Energy flux or Energy current or Wave Intensity.
As the wave travels distance Vw per second, so
po 2
Wave Intensity, I = Energy density x wave velocity = 2 A Vw =
2 2 2
2 Vw
[IIT2001] The ends of a stretched wire of length L are fixed at x=0 and x=L. In one
experiment the displacement of the wire is y1 = A sin (x/L)sin(wt) and the energy is E1
and in the other is y2 = A sin (2x/L)sin(2wt) and energy is E2. Then____ (E2 = 4E1)

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 11

{VSound Vmedium } Vobserver
Apparent Actual [ ]
Doppler Effect:
{VSound Vmedium } VSource
1. Towards => Apparent frequency increases; Away => App. frequency decreases
2. Source comes in denominator, Observer comes in numerator
3. When moving perpendicular, take component of velocity along/away the line
joining source and observer. Whenever you get component of velocity along or
away, then Doppler effect will be there.
4. Dealing with reflection cases: Treat it as a case of reflection from mirror with wall
being the mirror. Now the image will act as source of sound.
5. If reflection takes from a moving car etc then it is equivalent to :
S (v=0) v

S(v = v) S (v = v)
Questions on Dopplers effect
1. [2005, 2M] An observer standing on a railway crossing receives frequency of 2.2
kHz and 1.8 kHz when the train approaches and recedes from the observer. Find
the velocity of the train. Vsound = 330 m/s. [Ans. 30 m/s]
2. [IIT2003, 2M]
3. [1981, 4M] A source of sound of frequency 256 Hz is moving rapidly towards a
wall with a velocity of 5 m/s. How many beats per second will be heard by the
observer on source itself if Vsound = 330 m/s? [Ans. 7.87 Hz]
4. [1997, 5M] A band playing music at a frequency f is moving towards a wall at a
speed Vb. A motorist is following the band with a speed Vm. If V is the speed of
sound, obtain expression for the beat frequency heard by the motorist.
2V f (V Vm )
[Ans. b 2 ]
(V Vb2 )
5. [1996, 3M] A whistle emitting sound of frequency 440 Hz is tied to a string of
length 1.5 m and rotated with an angular velocity of 20 rad/s in the horizontal
plane. Calculate the range of frequencies heard by an observer stationed at a large
distance from the whistle? Vsound = 330 m/s. [403.3 Hz to 484 Hz]
6. [1990, 7M] A source of sound is moving in a circle of r = 3 m with w = 10 rad/s.
A sound detector located far away from the source is executing linear SHM along
the line BD (see figure) with amplitude BC = CD = 6m. The frequency of
oscillation of the detector is 5/ per sec. The source is at A when the detector is at
B. If source frequency is 340 Hz, find the maximum and minimum frequencies
recorded by the detector. Vsound = 340 m/s. [Ans. 438.7 Hz, 257.3 Hz]

6m 6m



Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 12

7. [2001, 10M] A boat is traveling in a river with a speed of 10 m/s along the stream
flowing with a speed of 2 m/s. From this boat a sound transmitter is lowered into
the river through a rigid support. The wavelength of sound emitted from the
transmitter inside water is 14.45 mm. Assume attenuation to be negligible.
a) What will be the frequency detected by a receiver kept inside the river
downstream? [Ans. 1.0069x105 Hz]
b) The transmitter and the receiver are now pulled up into air. The air is
blowing with a speed of 5 m/s in the direction opposite to stream.
Determine the frequency of sound detected by the receiver? [Ans.
1.0304x105 Hz]
(Temperature of air and water = 200C; Density of water = 103 kg/m3. Bwater =
2.088x109 Pa; Gas constant, R = 8.31 J/mol-K; Mean molecular mass of air =
28.8x10-3 kg/mol; CP / CV for air = 1.4)
8. [1988, 5M]A train is approaching a hill at a speed of 40 km/hr sounds a whistle of
frequency 580 Hz when it is at a distance of 1 km from a hill. A wind with a
speed of 40 km/hr is blowing in the direction of motion of the train. Find
a) The frequency of the whistle as heard by an observer on the hill,
b) the distance from the hill at which the echo from the hill is heard by the
driver and its frequency. Vsound = 1200 km/hr.
[Ans. a) 599.33 Hz, b) 0.935 km, 621.43 Hz]
9. [1986, 8M] Two tuning forks with natural frequencies of 340 Hz each move
relative to a stationary observer. One fork moves away from the observer, while
the other moves towards him at the same speed. The observer hears beats of
frequency 3 Hz. Find the speed of the tuning fork. [Ans. 1.5 m/s]
10. [1983, 6M] A sonometer wire under tension of 64 N vibrating in its fundamental
mode is in resonance with a vibrating tuning fork. The vibrating portion of the
sonometer wire has a length of 10 cm and a mass of 1 g. The vibrating tuning fork
is now moved away from the vibrating wire with a constant speed and an observer
standing near the sonometer hears one beat per second. Calculate the speed with
which the tuning fork is moved if the speed of sound = 300 m/s. [Ans. 0.075 m/s]

Wave Motion by Dr. Rajeev Tyagi. 9810244396, rajeev_tyagi@rediffmail.com 13