Unit 1: Mechanical Vibrations and Waves in Extended Objects
The material in this unit is not directly related to electricity and magnetism, but it is the foundation of one of the most significant outcomes of Maxwell's theory – electromagnetic waves. In PHYS101: Introduction to Mechanics, we learned how to describe the motion of particle-like masses using classical mechanics. In this unit, we begin the transition from mechanics to electromagnetism by examining how objects of size – length, width, and depth – behave.
When we look at these types of extended objects, a mystery is hiding in plain sight: if you pull one end of a rope, how does the other end know? Your action somehow "propagates" from one end to the other. The answer is related to the invisible hand of electromagnetism that can transmit information between different locations.
In this unit, we focus on vibrating systems and the propagation of mechanical waves through media; think of ripples traveling outward from a stone dropped into water. We also lay the basic foundation for the development of a classical theory of mechanics for extended solids.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.
1.1: Periodic Motion and Simple Harmonic Oscillators
1.3: Wave Motion
Unit 1 Assessment