MCAT Physics Question — Wave Speed
- Mar 12, 2014
- MCAT Blog, MCAT Physics, MCAT Question of the Day
A wave at Waimea Bay, Hawaii, has a speed of 6 m/sec when it starts to break. If 6 waves break each minute, what is the distance from the wave’s crest to its trough?
Wave speed is related to wavelength and frequency by the equation v=fλ. In this problem, 6 waves a minute translates into a frequency of 0.1 Hz.
6 waves/minute x 1minute/60 seconds = 1wave/10 seconds = 0.1 Hz
6m/sec*10sec=60m. Peak to trough is 1/2 wavelength, 30m.
- 0.5m, incorrect, This answer does not convert minutes to seconds.
- 1m, incorrect, This answer does not convert minutes to seconds and does not divide wavelength by 2.
- 30m, correct.
- 60m, incorrect, This answer does not divide wavelength by 2.
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