Acoustics and Vibration Animations

photograph of Dan Russell Logo for Penn State Acoustics

Dan Russell

Professor of Acoustics
Director of Distance Education
Graduate Program in Acoustics

The links below contain animations illustrating acoustics and vibration, waves and oscillation concepts. I started using Mathematica to create animations to help me understand and visualize certain acoustics and vibration phenomena in 1992 while I was a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State. For the next 16 years (1995-2011) I was a physics professor at Kettering University and continued creating animations and using them as educational tools for the courses I was teaching about waves and acoustics. Sometime around 1998 or so I began writing webpages and adding them to this online collection. Now that I'm back at Penn State, teaching graduate level acoustics, I'm continuing to add to my collection of animations. My intent has always been to create physically and mathematically correct animations, accompanied by explanatory text, that illustrate complicated phenomena involving waves and vibration in a manner that aids student understanding. I hope you find these animations useful.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Dan Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Today is . The contents (and links) on this page were last updated on February 18, 2014.

I am in the process of attempting to bring all of the pages on this site into compliance with current HTML5, CSS3, and W3C Web Accessibility standards. The bullet symbols used in the lists below identify pages as

As far as I can tell most of the updated pages work correctly with Firefox v.41, Safari v8 (but NOT with Safari 9.0), Google Chrome v24, Maxthon 4, and Explorer v10. I am trying to figure out and fix the style problems with Safari 9. Many of the pages below include math equations formatted using MathML, and I have learned that Chrome versions after 24 have removed support for MathML, and Internet Explorer requires the MathPlayer plugin in order to render MathML equations properly.

Please let me know if you find page errors or pages that don't load correctly. Thanks!

Sound Waves and Sources

Basic Wave Phenomena

Sound Waves and Radiation from Sources

More Complicated Wave Phenomena

Room Acoustics

Vibration and Structural Waves

Vibration of 1-DOF Simple Oscillators

Vibration of Multi-DOF Systems

Vibrational Modes of Continuous Systems

Miscellaneous Animations

Interactive Plots Demonstrating Acoustic Phenomena

The interactive plots in these links contain Mathematica Computable Document Format files and require the use of the free Wolfram CDF Player.

Videos of Acoustics Demonstrations on my YouTube Channel

Tools used to create these animations

Awards and Reviews