AP Physics 2 : Representing Waves as Sine and Cosine Functions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Physics 2

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Representing Waves As Sine And Cosine Functions

Which of the following electromagnetic waves has the highest frequency?

Possible Answers:

Visible light





Correct answer:



The frequency of a wave is directly related to the energy in the wave. The most energetic waves in the electromagnetic spectrum are gamma rays. Gamma rays are typically released from quasars, ultra-dense dying stars, and from atomic bomb blasts, which gives you the scope of the amount of energy involved with gamma rays.

Example Question #2 : Representing Waves As Sine And Cosine Functions

For open pipes, the formula for wave patterns at any given time can be given by a Fourier Sine Series which is given as the infinite sum:

 when  is an integer, and  is the length of the pipe. Each individual value of  is called a harmonic. 

What is the angular frequency of the second harmonic? 

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:


Frequency, when given an equation in sine or cosine notation, is the value inside the parenthesis. For the second harmonic , the frequency is:

Example Question #3 : Waves

Equation of sound wave 1:

Equation of sound wave 2:

Determine at what time there will be complete constructive interference between the two if:

Possible Answers:

None of these

Correct answer:


The will be destructive interference when 


Plugging in values:

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