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A string can be approximated by many connected particles as shown in the animations (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). Restart. Here we consider a pulse on a string and looks at the motion of the individual particles that make up such a string.
Look at Pulse 1 (push "play") which shows a Gaussian pulse incident from the left. Now, look at Pulse 2 which shows a Gaussian pulse incident from the right.
In the other two animations the pulse is incident from the left and hits either a Hard or a Soft barrier. The hard barrier example is depicted by the hand that represents a string whose end is tied down; the soft barrier example represents a string with one end free.
One way to think about a pulse hitting a barrier is to consider the pulse that you see as a superposition of two pulses: the one traveling into the barrier and the one coming from just past the barrier (either a mirror reflect or an inverted mirror reflect depending on the barrier) so that the two of them meet when the pulse gets to the barrier.
Original problem: Exploration 17.3, Physlet Physics
by Christian and Belloni
Original credits: Illustration authored by Morten Brydensholt, Wolfgang Christian, and Mario Belloni.
Original credits: Script authored by Morten Brydensholt, Wolfgang Christian, and Mario Belloni.
© 2004 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. A Pearson Company