3A70.23 - Synchronizing Metronomes

Evenly space the 5 metronomes on the foam board.  Start the metronomes leaving the board on the lecture table.  Observe the random nature of the metronomes even though they are all set to the same time.  Now carefully pick up the board and place it on the two pop cans.  The metronomes are now able to couple and will become synchronized within 1 minute.
Code Number:
3A70.23
Demo Title:
Synchronizing Metronomes
Condition:
Good
Principle:
Coupled Oscillations
Area of Study:
Acoustics
Equipment:
Metronomes, pop cans, foam board.
Procedure:

Evenly space the 5 metronomes on the foam board.  Start the metronomes leaving the board on the lecture table.  Observe the random nature of the metronomes even though they are all set to the same time.  Now carefully pick up the board and place it on the two pop cans.  The metronomes are now able to couple and will become synchronized within 1 minute.   

References:
  • Manfred Euler, "Hands-on Synchronization: An Adaptive Clockwork Universe", TPT, Vol. 44, # 3, March 2006, p. 173.
  • James Pantaleone,  "Synchronization of Metronomes",  AJP,  70, # 10, Oct. 2002.
  • E. A. Martins et al, "A Mechanical Chimera", Physics Today, Oct. 2013, p. 14.
  • Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations, "Simple Harmonic (and Non-Harmonic) Motion", 2008. 
  • 1.181, "Flattening the Golden Gate Bridge", The Flying Circus of Physics", p. 79.

 

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