The passage of an elastic wave causes straining and translation in the transmitting material. If a magnetic field is applied, and the medium is an electrical conductor, some of the energy of the wave is dissipated by the flow of electrical eddy currents. Usually the amount of energy lost is very small, but it may be greatly increased if the applied field is strongly non-uniform.Laboratory experiments are described which demonstrate this effect for standing elastic waves in a metal bar. The applied magnetic field changes from almost zero to its full strength over a distance which is short compared to the length of the standing wave. The result of this strong non-uniformity is that the energy lost due to the translation of the bar in the field greatly exceeds the energy lost due to the straining of the bar in the field.The dependence of the attenuation of the waves by the magnetic field is investigated for variation in frequency of vibration, bar thickness, and field gradient.

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