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ERIC Number: EJ887961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Surface Gravity Waves: Resonance in a Fish Tank
Sinick, Scott J.; Lynch, John J.
Physics Teacher, v48 n5 p330-332 May 2010
In this work, an inexpensive 10-gallon glass aquarium was used to study wave motion in water. The waves travel at speeds comparable to a person walking ([approximately]1 m/s). The scale of the motion allows for distances to be measured with a meterstick and for times to be measured with a stopwatch. For a wide range of water depths, standing waves were excited by hand using strips of Styrofoam. Several resonant modes were studied starting with the fundamental. Experimental values of wave speed were obtained from measurements of wavelength and period of oscillation. Theoretical values of wave speed were calculated using the surface gravity wave dispersion relation. The agreement between experiment and theory was usually better than 0.5%. The aquarium was a winner in the Apparatus Competition (Low Cost Category) during the AAPT 2006 Summer Meeting at Syracuse University.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A