Pendulum Waves

Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

The period of one complete cycle of the dance is 60 seconds. The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in this 60 second period. The length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations.

For more details see Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations

Our apparatus was built from a design published by Richard Berg [Am J Phys 59(2), 186-187 (1991)] at the University of Maryland.

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