Acoustics and Vibration Animations

by Dr. Daniel A. Russell

Teaching Professor of Acoustics, Graduate Program in Acoustics, The Pennsylvania State University

photograph of Dan Russell

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.

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Today is . The contents (and links) on this page were last updated on January 17, 2024.

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

Sound Waves and Sources

Basic Wave Phenomena

Longitudinal Sound Waves

Sound Sources, Radiation, and Scattering

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

Animations of Experimental Results

Miscellaneous Animations

A New Animation Creator

My current Ph.D. student, Noah Parker, is beginning to develop his own interactive animations to help undergraduate students learn about acoustics, engineering, and physics.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I learned how to use Mathematica to create animations of waves and oscillation phenomena from Dr. Victor Sparrow, my PhD advisor at Penn State. Here is collection of several of his earliest animations from 1992-2000.

Interactive Mathematica CDF files for Illustrating 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