Charles A. Edmondson
Thomas M. Wilbur
Murray S. Korman
Dept. of Phys., U.S. Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD 21402
Coupled oscillators involving a small or large number of elements can be used to study beats, normal modes, wave motion, and dispersion effects. Several experimental systems, each using a mechanical apparatus, will be demonstrated. The motion studies will be enhanced using transducers (such as strain gauges or accelerometers) on various elements. Transducer signals will be FFT analyzed and displayed to reveal the frequency characteristics of the normal modes. The coupled oscillators will involve pendulums and springs or masses on springs resting on an air track. A system of N nonlinear coupled pendulums will be used to demonstrate the motion of a soliton. For the finale, a metallic pingpong ball will oscillate between two oppositely charged parallel metal plates.