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More Domino Wave Speed Stuff

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Discussions in Backscatter Column of Citizen Scientist (ref 4) of my paper and experiments on measuring the speed of the Domino Effect (ref 1 and 2) and attempts to repeat the experiments also reported in CS seem to miss the point of using DEMON spectra (ref 3).

I may be partially responsible for this since I have in the past commented that the spikes of noise which I presume to be the clicks of domino impacts on closer examination appear to be tonals modulated by a narrow envelope. I now believe that this was partially a misinterpretation of the data and partially a result of over fierce band pass filtering on my part.

Whatever the truth of the above we can observe directly from a plot (fig 1) of the auto-correlation of a recording of the domino wave, that there is no clear signal at the expected delay (of about 0.04 s for this data file):

Auto-Correlation, data file d9p2.wav

Fig 1: Auto-Correlation, data file d9p2.wav

Fig 2 shows the DEMON spectrum for this data file and here we see a “Sore Thumb” signature at about 24.5 Hz, which would correspond to a delay of about 0.04 seconds in the auto-correlation for this data set, where there is no clear feature. (the 24.5 Hz frequency corresponds to a wave speed close to 1 m/s on an 0.04 m pitch domino array, or a normalised wave speed of ~1.4 for dominoes of height ~0.052 m and thickness ~-.008 m (the width does not affect the wave speed but here its is ~0.025m)

Fig 2: DEMON Spectrum,  data file d9p2.wav

Note: The datafile d9p2.wav is the recording of one of the repeat runs, not reported in refs 1 and 2, that I have  done to look at the variability in speed measurements. In this case the speed measured is within about 2% of that previously reported.


1.  Larham R., Measuring the Speed of the Domino Effect Using the Windows Sound Recorder, Part 1, Citizen Scientist, Nov 2007, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2007/2007-11-02/project2/index.html

2.  Larham R., Measuring the Speed of the Domino Effect Using the Windows Sound Recorder, Part 2, Citizen Scientist, Dec 2007, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2007/2007-12-07/project2/index.html

3. Smith R., Attempted Recreation of Ron Larham’s Domino Wave Experiment, Citizen Scientist, March 2009, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2009/2009-03-06/project1/index.html

4. Hannon J., Still More About Domino Waves, Backscatter Column, Citizen Scientist, April 2009, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2009/2009-04-03/backscatter/index.html


Written by CaptainBlack

April 8, 2009 at 13:50

Posted in DSP, Maths and Stuff

Tagged with , ,

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