information about sound.what is resonance? all i know is that it is a natural frequency but i don't know what that means! I saw a video of this bridge that started wobbling just because the wind...

information about sound.

what is resonance? all i know is that it is a natural frequency but i don't know what that means! I saw a video of this bridge that started wobbling just because the wind blew to create a particular frequency so it collapsed!  I know that resonance is also the thing that makes wine glasses break when a high pitch is sung... but how? what actually is it. Just a breif explanation please thats not too complicated... thank you :)

Asked on by enimsaj1996

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

What a great question! I assume you were watching a video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which is a great - if unfortunate - illustration of the phenomenon of mechanical resonance. Resonance results from the superposition of waves; when two or more waves interact, a crest plus a trough interacting will cancel each other out, while two crests add to  make a bigger crest and two troughs create a  deeper troughs. In a resonant situation, the crests and troughs coincide and create something called a standing wave, where the crest essentially seems to rise and fall in one location, rather than moving along. If the wavelength of a standing wave is mathematically related to the size of the space or the object it occurs in (for example, the object's length is an even multiple of the wavelength), resonance is the result. This causes the object to oscillate. A rigid or semi-rigid object  can undergo so much internal stress from trying to oscillate that it is damaged.

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