How to Find the Resonant Frequency of Something

Written by josh infiesto
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How to Find the Resonant Frequency of Something
Like a wet wine glass, other objects can be made to sing. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The resonant frequency of an object is the frequency at which the object itself vibrates. A common example is the singing wine glass. Running your finger along the lip of a wet wine glass will cause the glass to "sing" at its resonant frequency. Vibrating an object at it's resonant frequency can cause it to break, as the parts will continue to vibrate and accumulate energy. Finding an objects resonant frequency can be done with fairly common items.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Microphone
  • Oscilloscope
  • Speaker

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    Low-Tech Method

  1. 1

    Raise the object to your face.

  2. 2

    Begin singing a very low tone.

  3. 3

    Slowly raise the pitch of the tone.

  4. 4

    Stop when you hear the object return the tone you're singing. You've found the resonant frequency.

    High-Tech Method

  1. 1

    Attach the microphone to the oscilloscope. It should have a microphone jack.

  2. 2

    Place the object next to the microphone and next to the speaker.

  3. 3

    Play a tone from the speaker and slowly raise the pitch.

  4. 4

    Stop when you find a tone that causes the oscilloscope to read greater vibrations than the surrounding tones. This is a resonant frequency of the object. You can continue to experiment with the oscilloscope to find other frequencies.

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