Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Overlapping pulses

At the time t = 0, the string has the shape shown below. The pulse on the left is moving towards the right and the pulse on the right is moving towards the left.

Each box in the grid has a side of 1 cm.

  1. The leading edges of the pulses will just touch in a time of 0.05 sec. What is the speed with which each pulse is traveling?
  2. Two points on the string are marked with heavy black dots and with the letters A and B. At the instant shown, what are the velocities of the dots? Give magnitude and direction (up, down, left, right, or some combination of them).
  3. On the figure below are shown dotted lines indicating where the pulses would be at a time t = 0.075. Draw a heavy line to show what the shape of the string would look like at this instant.

Explain why you think it would look like this.

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Page last modified October 23, 2002: O07