What is a sinusoidal curve? What is a physical example of
something that would produce this curve?
A sinusoidal curve is the graph of the sine function in trigonometry. A
physical example is as follows:
Set a pen on the bob of a pendulum that is quite long. Make sure the pen
just touches paper just below it. Start the pendulum with a gentle, small
motion. Pull the paper horizontally at a constant velocity under the
paper. The path drawn is a sinusoidal curve.
This can be done in a similar method with a tuning fork, but is more
difficult to set up.
---Nathan A. Unterman
Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives
Update: June 2012