Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5694-5703
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Virtual laboratories provide significant advantages in education, such as interactivity and dynamic response. Furthermore, they can enable users to control the variables of a process, in order to analyze their resulting influence. In this paper, we present an applet ( that simulates one-dimensional waves by means of individual oscillators. The user may focus its attention, either on the oscillators movement, or on the wave itself, providing an easy way to understand the mathematical basis of the process and its consequences. The applet has been developed using the tool “Easy Java Simulation”, which is part of the Open Source Physics project.

Our virtual laboratory enables the user to select the type of wave (transversal, longitudinal or mixed, such as sea waves) and the number of sinusoidal components (either one or two). Amplitudes, periods and wavelengths of the components are controlled by means of scroll bars, modifying the visualization dynamically. The user can activate additional options such as standing waves, absorption, dispersion or heterogeneous medium.

The laboratory includes a console that controls the animation (continuous, frame by frame, …). In this way, the user can easily understand important concepts about waves: mutual dependence of wavelength, period and velocity of the wave; difference between longitudinal and transversal waves; influence of a change in the medium; etc.

As and additional feature, the user can click on any individual oscillator, activating its trace mode, that draws the trajectory of that particle of the medium.
virtual laboratory, digital simulation, wave.