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In introductory physics courses, simple arguments based on traveling waves on a string are used to relate the frequency of standing waves to boundary conditions, e.g., the fixed ends of the string. Here, we extend that approach to two-dimensional waves such as the oscillations of a rectangular membrane with edges fixed at the boundary. This results in a graphical method that uses only simple geometry and is suitable for explaining two-dimensional standing-wave oscillations to non-science majors, e.g., in a physics of sound and music class.


© 2020 American Association of Physics Teachers.

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American Journal of Physics





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