In introductory physics courses, simple arguments based on traveling waves on a string are used to relate the frequency of standing waves to boundary conditions, e.g., the fixed ends of the string. Here, we extend that approach to two-dimensional waves such as the oscillations of a rectangular membrane with edges fixed at the boundary. This results in a graphical method that uses only simple geometry and is suitable for explaining two-dimensional standing-wave oscillations to non-science majors, e.g., in a physics of sound and music class.

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See supplementary material at https://doi.org/10.1119/10.0001299 for animations and the Matlab scripts that produced them.

Supplementary Material

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