- A stationary wave is produced when the wavelength of the wave in the string, which are fixed at its two ends, satisfies λn = 2L/n,
where L is the length of the string and n = 1, 2, 3,…
- When a stationary wave of wavelength λn is formed, there are n
loops formed in the string.
- Each stationary wave is a normal mode of the system.
- Besides the normal modes, the string has infinite modes of oscillations, e.g., plucking the string at any point on it.
However, any mode can be represented by a series sum of the normal modes of different amplitudes.
An analogy in mathematics is that any 3D vector can be expressed like P→ = a i→ + b j→+ c k→,
where i→, j→ and k→ are the unit vectors.
- The system is forced to oscillate when a periodic force is applied to it. When the frequency of the periodic force matches with one of the frequencies fn = wave speed / λn, resonance will occur.
Then, stationary wave of that normal mode appears on the string.
- When the system is forced to oscillate at off-resonance, the oscillation is a combination of the neighboring modes. The resultant amplitude is usually small becuase none of the normal modes is dominant.