Home » Physics » Resonance


Start here


Resonance: When a vibrating system drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at specific frequencies.

from Physicsclassroom.com:

Musical instruments are set into vibrational motion at their natural frequency when a person hits, strikes, strums, plucks or somehow disturbs the object.

Each natural frequency of the object is associated with one of the many standing wave patterns by which that object could vibrate. The natural frequencies of a musical instrument are sometimes referred to as the harmonics of the instrument.

An instrument can be forced into vibrating at one of its harmonics (with one of its standing wave patterns) if another interconnected object pushes it with one of those frequencies. This is known as resonance – when one object vibrating at the same natural frequency of a second object forces that second object into vibrational motion.

Physics Classroom – Sounds – Lesson 5 – Resonance

(work in progress)

RedGrittyBrick, a physicist writing on skeptics.stackexchange.com, notes that a bridge can be susceptible to mechanical resonance:

Mechanical structures usually have one or more frequencies at which some part of the structure oscillates. A tuning fork has a well-defined natural frequency of oscillation. More complex structures may have a dominant natural frequency of oscillation. If some mechanical inputs (such as the pressure of feet walking in unison) have a frequency that is close to a natural frequency of the structure, these inputs will tend to initiate and, over a short time, increase the oscillating movements of the structure. Like pushing a child’s swing at the right time.

One example is London’s Millennium Bridge which was closed shortly after opening because low-frequency vibrations in the bridge were causing large groups of pedestrians to simultaneously shift their weight and reinforcing the oscillation. Dampers were fitted.

London's Millennium Bridge resonance

Skeptics.stackexchange Does a column of marching soldiers have to break their rhythm while crossing a bridge to prevent its collapse?


Related topics

Nikola Tesla and wireless power transmission


Related topics

Facts and Fiction of the Schumann Resonance: On this website


External links

Facts and Fiction of the Schumann Resonance : On Skeptoid

Resonance in AC circuits

Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-PS4-5. Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy. Examples of principles of wave behavior include resonance, photoelectric effect, and constructive and destructive interference.

%d bloggers like this: