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How Different Pitches "Break"’

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ThePeculiarParticle

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Inspired by AaronSwims’s blog post title, I wanted to make my own post on a completely different topic. I wanted to focus on resonance and, while we briefly touched upon it last year, I feel the need to write about it. Resonance, in its most basic definition, is “the condition in which an object or system is subjected to an oscillating force having a frequency close to its own natural frequency”. So how do we see this every day? Bang a pot, pan, glass, even sheet metal and you will find that a noise of a certain pitch emanates from it. If there is little dampening (energy lost in other forms), then this frequency is close to that material or objects natural frequency. This natural frequency is what a system oscillates at when not disturbed by a continuous external force. A glass breaker sings loud so that the amplitude of air molecules moving is quite large and transferring more energy. If the pitch matches the resonance frequency, then the amplitudes add up, with the common example being compared to pushing a kid on a swing. Small pushes, over a given amount of time, will eventually lead to the swing having a much larger amplitude than when it started. In a material, such as glass, where it is brittle and prone to imperfections, the frequency and volume of a person's voice has the resonance which results in it shattering into hundreds of pieces.

 

As always thanks for reading! - ThePeculiarParticle

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