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Physics/Singing Wine Glasses


I have been doing an experiment with singing wine glasses and looking at the relationship between the frequency produced and the density of the liquid in the wine glass. I have been using A.P French's equation describing the relationships within a wine glass, however, there is a constant in the equation and I can't find the value of this constant anywhere? I am really interested in using this equation and was wondering if you would know how to find the value for this constant? Thanks

There are many constants in French's equation (this is not a standard physics application, it's very specialized for this problem and you shouldn't expect a physicist to just know what you're talking about...we don't typically study vibrating glasses), you don't say which one you don't know.  Do you not know the density of the glass?  Do you not know the typically unknown general constant that he puts in with the other terms in front of the distance term?  That one looks like you'll have to fit it to data.  It's not some fundamental constant, density isn't everything when you're dealing with different types of glass with different material properties (stiffness, etc).  So you have to fit that to the glass you're using before the approximate equation becomes useful for your situation.  I suspect it's that one, so go take some data and fit it.  If you can just use a tuning fork (or other musical instrument tuning device) and your ears, you can figure out the frequencies and do this with no real special equipment aside from what you'd use to tune up a piano or guitar.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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