28 June, 2015

Persisting Resonances

Let us muse about the natural oscillations of a fixed set up.

The simplest is that of a fixed taut string anchored at both ends. For, such has a whole quantized series of possible natural oscillations. If a disturbance (such as a pluck) were applied near the centre of the string, it would oscillate with the so-called fundamental frequency of that particular length, weight and tension of the string. You don’t have to apply a necessary frequency of disturbance – anything will do, as it is the addition of energy that will set it vibrating at its natural frequency.

In other words, the fundamental frequency is a property of that precise set up only. But if the agitation of the string were applied at precisely one quarter of the length of the string, it would then vibrate at twice the fundamental frequency. And similar agitations at particular precise points, along the length of the string, will produce other so-called harmonics – frequencies simply related to the fundamental. But, such a device is not rigidly controlled, so variations in string tension will change the set of related frequencies that are produced. Nevertheless, we have a very simple construction, which naturally possesses Quantized Frequencies.

NOTE: this infers that elsewhere-in Nature, when such quantized frequencies occur, might also have very similar causes, as we will see!

Now, if our string is totally still, but elsewhere, its exact fundamental frequency is made to occur elsewhere, but clearly hear-able at our string, that would begin to vibrate too in resonance with the separately situated source.

The intervening substrate (the air) will have itself been set into that same oscillation, and communicated both the original’s frequency and its energy to our originally quiescent set up, and by resonance, set it too into motion. But, in addition, many initiators may well be mixes of many frequencies, but even they can set our string into resonance, but only at one or another of its harmonic set.

The frequency of a marching squad of soldiers crossing a bridge, will not all be in perfect unison, but could be enough to set the bridge in resonance and even shake itself to dissolution. 

The key thing is the transference of energy.

Now, various questions are posed.

The main one is concerned with the fact that to set our string in motion at its fundamental frequency, it doesn’t have to be initiated by a direct input of that same frequency. It can be almost any mix of frequencies as long as some related one is present. So, we can conceive of a non-specific energy from without.

This poses questions about persistence of oscillation.

In Yves Couder’s famous Walker set up, he had a constant input of energy, at a particular frequency of the whole set up, which was externally driven, and this was certainly what kept the formed Walkers as persisting entities.

Now, considering the processes in Couder’s work, using examples involving vibrations of strings, may well mislead, as further work seems to indicate that it isn’t fixed frequencies that are the key, BUT related frequencies in all the participating vibrations. Indeed, it seems likely that the same could be achieved with a different set of frequencies, as long as they are appropriately related via careful tuning.

Of course, Couder’s Experiment was different in that a second and different oscillation was set in motion by the applied persistent oscillation – the falling drop of the same oil onto the main oil bath. That was sent back up to, thereafter, deliver regular kicks via its persistent bouncing, and finally the surface of the oil in the bath also had a surface oscillation, which because of the bouncing drop was turned into an interacting standing wave.

Clearly, there is no reason why basically similar stable arrangements could not be set up in other appropriate media.

Our task is to relate these findings to the phenomena within the atom, by including consideration of an undetected universal substrate, even within the atom itself.

The Atom and the Substrate series is being published on Shape Journal. The first issue The Substrate is available now. Part 2 on The Atom will be published in the next week or two.

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