Show Me Some Science! Catching a Wave

The Little Shop of Physics crew makes waves on giant rolled sheets of spandex!

What’s a Wave?

A wave occurs when the fabric is bumped from it’s equilibrium position, and the energy is a transferred down the fabric. When the wave reaches the end of the fabric, is bounces back, similar to when sound waves hit a barrier and create an echo.

Catching a Wave!

If you pull the fabric tighter, the waves travel faster. This is because the higher tension in the fabric, the higher the “restoring force”, and the the faster the fabric reacts to send the wave on it’s way. Brian demonstrates the relationship between tension and wave speed by trying to race the waves!