Awash: Modeling Wave Movement in a Ripple Tank
School: MCCURDY HIGH
Area of Science: Physics
Proposal: The problem is to create a mathematical model of wave motion at the point in which a wave changes from a symmetric form to a chaotic one.
The team plans to construct a relatively large ripple tank with a bottom which can be inclined. The objective is to be able to observe and photograph waves changing from symmetric to chaotic forms as they move across the tank from the deeper to shallower end.
Additionally, two liquids of different densities will be used in the tank. The vibrator for generating waves will be designed so that waves may be generated in the surface liquid. Alternatively, the vibrator may be submerged to generate waves at the interface between the two liquids. Similar to the inclined bottom, the objective is to observe waves changing from symmetric to chaotic forms as they move through the tank.
One mathematical objective is to model the symmetrical waves observed in the ripple tank. A second mathematical objective is to model the point at which waves start to change from symmetric to chaotic.. The math model will be compared with what is actually observed in the ripple tank.
The preceding is based on waves moving through a single kind of liquid and at the surface. A variation will be creating a math model of a wave moving at the boundary of the two different liquids. Whereas the first part is concerned with waves at the boundary of liquid and gas (air), the second part is concerned with waves moving through two liquids.
Sponsoring Teacher: Robert Dryja
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