Physics Practice Questions – Waves and Sound –

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A wiggle in time is a A) wave. B) vibration. C) both D) neither

vibrating object

2) The source of all wave motion is a A) wave pattern. B) harmonic object. C) region of variable high and low pressure. D) vibrating object. E) none of these


3) Which of the following is not a transverse wave? A) sound B) radio C) light D) all of these E) none of these

at right angles to the direction of wave travel

4) The vibrations of a transverse wave move in a direction A) along the direction of wave travel. B) at right angles to the direction of wave travel.

along the direction of wave travel

5) The vibrations of a longitudinal wave move in a direction A) at right angles to the direction of wave travel. B) along the direction of wave travel.

0.1 s

6) If the frequency of a certain wave is 10 Hz, its period is A) 10 s. B) 100 s. C) 0.1 s. D) none of these

all of these

7) Wave interference occurs for A) light waves. B) sound waves. C) water waves. D) all of these E) none of these

minimum amplitude

8) A node is a position of A) minimum amplitude. B) maximum amplitude.

all of these

The Doppler effect is characteristic of A) sound waves. B) light waves. C) water waves. D) all of these E) none of these

as fast as the waves it produces

10)A wave barrier is produced when a wave source moves A) nearly as fast as the waves it produces. B) faster than the waves it produces. C) as fast as the waves it produces.


11) An aircraft that flies faster than the speed of sound is said to be A) supersonic. B) subsonic. C) neither of these


12) As a supersonic craft increases in speed, the angle of its V-shaped shock wave becomes A) wider. B) narrower. C) neither

2 Hz

13) A floating leaf oscillates up and down two complete cycles each second as a water wave passes by. What is the wave’s frequency? A) 1 Hz B) 0.5 Hz C) 2 Hz D) 3 Hz E) 6 Hz

6 m/s

14) A wave travels an average distance of 6 m in 1 s. What is the wave’s velocity? A) 1 m/s B) 3 m/s C) more than 6 m/s D) 6 m/s E) less than 0.2 m/s

1/60 Hz

15) The frequency of the second hand on a clock is A) 1 Hz. B) 60 Hz. C) 1/60 Hz.

60 s

16) The period of the second hand on a clock is A) 3600 s. B) 1/60 s. C) 60 s. D) 12 h. E) 1 s.

toward you

17) A Doppler effect occurs when a source of sound moves A) toward you. B) at right angles to you. C) both of these D) none of these


18) Some of a wave’s energy dissipates as heat. In time, this will reduce the wave’s A) period. B) frequency. C) amplitude. D) wavelength. E) speed.

2 m

19) The amplitude of a particular wave is 1 m. The top to bottom distance of the disturbance is A) 0.5 m. B) 2 m. C) 1 m. D) none of these


20) You dip your finger repeatedly into water and make waves. If you dip your finger more frequently, the wavelength of the waves A) stays the same. B) lengthens. C) shortens.

one wavelength

21) During a single period, the distance traveled by a wave is A) one-half wavelength. B) two wavelengths. C) one wavelength.

3 m/s

22) A skipper on a boat notices wave crests passing the anchor chain every 5 s. The skipper estimates the distance between crests is 15 m. What is the speed of the water waves? A) 3 m/s B) 15 m/s C) 5 m/s D) not enough information given

observers A and B only

23) A jet traveling at 1500 km/h passes between two observers, A and B, as shown in the figure. In a short time, a sonic boom will be heard by A) observer A only. B) observer B only. C) observers A and B and the aircraft pilot. D) observers A and B only.


24) The source of all sounds is something that is A) undergoing simple harmonic motion. B) moving. C) vibrating. D) a net emitter of energy. E) accelerating.


25) A sound source of high frequency emits a high A) pitch. B) speed. C) amplitude. D) all of these E) none of these

longitudinal wave

26) A sound wave is a A) standing wave. B) shock wave. C) transverse wave. D) longitudinal wave. E) none of these

longitudinal waves

27) Compressions and rarefactions are characteristic of A) transverse waves. B) longitudinal waves. C) both of these D) neither of these


28) Sound travels faster in A) a vacuum. B) steel. C) water. D) air. E) Sound travels at about the same speed in all of these

a vacuum

29) Sound waves cannot travel in A) water. B) air. C) steel. D) a vacuum. E) Sound can travel in all of these.


30) Sound travels faster in air if the air is A) warm. B) cold. C) neither warm nor cold.


31) When the speed of sound near the ground is greater than higher in the air, sound tends to be bent A) downward. B) upward.


32) Refraction of sound can occur in A) water. B) air. C) both D) neither

increased internal energy of the air

33) The energy of sound in air eventually becomes A) cancelled by destructive interference. B) weaker and weaker until it disappears. C) increased internal energy of the air. D) cancelled by both destructive and constructive interference.


34) The frequencies of sound that carry farther in air are relatively A) high. B) low. C) no difference

sounding board

35) A bass fiddle is louder than a harp because of its A) sounding board. B) thicker strings. C) lower pitch. D) all of these E) none of these

small bell

36) The object with the natural frequency of higher pitch is a A) large bell. B) small bell.

at its natural frequency

37) The least amount of energy is required to produce forced vibration in an object A) above its natural frequency. B) at its natural frequency. C) below its natural frequency.


38) Sound waves can interfere with one another so that no sound results. A) True B) False

tend to be refracted downward

39) On some days, air nearest the ground is colder than air that is higher up. On one of these days, sound waves A) tend to be refracted downward. B) tend to be refracted upward. C) travel without refraction.


40) Sound refraction depends on the fact that the speed of sound is A) proportional to frequency. B) constant. C) variable. D) inversely proportional to wavelength. E) none of these

more than 20 s

41) An explosion occurs 34 km away. Knowing that sound travels at 340 m/s, the time it takes for the sound to reach you is A) 10 s. B) 0.1 s. C) 20 s. D) 1 s. E) more than 20 s.


42) Repeatedly tap the side of a drinking glass with a spoon while filling it with water and you will notice that the pitch of the sound A) decreases. B) remains relatively constant. C) increases.


43) The pitch of a musical sound depends on the sound wave’s A) wavelength. B) frequency. C) amplitude. D) speed. E) all of these


44) As we become older, the frequency range of human hearing A) increases. B) remains relatively constant. C) decreases.


45) The loudness of a musical sound is a measure of the sound wave’s A) frequency. B) wavelength. C) amplitude. D) speed. E) all of these


46) Reverberation is a phenomenon you would be most likely to hear if you sing in the A) desert. B) shower.

lower frequency notes

47) All other things being the same, strings that have more mass than other strings will produce A) higher frequency notes. B) the same frequency notes. C) lower frequency notes.


49) Relative to ultraviolet waves, the wavelength of infrared waves is A) the same. B) shorter. C) longer.

sound waves

50) Which of the following is fundamentally different from the others? A) gamma rays B) X rays C) radio waves D) light waves E) sound waves

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