Waves. Wave interference

Do you want to visualize in a practical way how wave interference occurs?

The online wave interference simulations on this page teach you in a practical way what this interesting phenomenon looks like and show you different real-world examples.

Wave interference is a phenomenon that occurs when two or more waves overlap each other. In this process, the waves interact and can combine constructively or destructively, depending on their relative phase. This phenomenon can be observed in different contexts, from light waves to sound waves.

When two waves are in phase, i.e. the peaks of one wave coincide with the peaks of the other, constructive interference occurs. In this case, the amplitudes of the waves add together, resulting in a resulting wave of greater amplitude.

On the other hand, if two waves are in phase opposition, i.e. the peaks of one wave coincide with the valleys of the other, destructive interference occurs. In this case, the amplitudes of the waves are subtracted from each other, resulting in a resulting wave of smaller amplitude.

Wave interference can have visible effects on the world around us. For example, when light passes through a narrow slit, an interference pattern is produced on a screen behind the slit. In the realm of sound waves, interference also plays an important role. For example, in a concert, when two musicians play the same note on two different instruments, the sound waves they emit can interfere with each other. Depending on the relative phase of the waves, this can result in an enhancement in the amplitude of the sound, known as constructive interference, or a decrease in amplitude, called destructive interference.

Interference pattern


When two sources produce waves at the same time, interference patterns can be formed. Set the condition for an interference pattern to be established in a wave tank.

Overlapping waves on a string I


Overlapping waves on a string II


In this simulation, you can see the result obtained by superimposing waves with different characteristics on a string. .
Click here to start the simulation

Waves laboratory


Make waves with a dripping faucet, speakers, or a laser! Add a second source to create an interference pattern. Set up a barrier to explore single-slit diffraction and double-slit interference. Experiment with diffraction through elliptical, rectangular, or irregular slits.

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