Wave on a String simulator

Explore the wonderful world of waves! Even observe a string vibrate in slow motion. Wiggle the end of the string and make waves, or adjust the frequency and amplitude of an oscillator using the wave on a string simulator.

Here’s what you need

  • Computer or iPad with internet access
  • Wave on a String Simulator

Here’s what you do

Play around and get familiar with the simulator first. Be sure to try out all the buttons.

1. What happens when the amplitude is increased?

2. What happens when the frequency is increased?

3. What direction does each individual part of the string move when a wave travels along it?

4. What direction does the actual wave move (hint, try pulse)?

The speed of the wave is how fast it travels from the oscillator/wrench to the clamp/window/loose end.

5. Does the speed vary depending on Amplitude, Frequency, damping or tension? Make a table showing how/if it changes with each.

6. Based on the simulator, how would you define the following terms?

  • Amplitude –
  • Frequency –
  • Damping –
  • Tension –

Special Thanks

to PhET Interactive Simulations. PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. We extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness.