Waves are disturbances that propagate throush space and time. Classically, they travelled through a medium, disturbing the particles but not changing their mean position. Electromagnetic waves/particle-waves need no medium; they are disturbances in their respective fields.

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Shallow water wave question from Acheson's book

I am learning Fluid mechanics by reading Acheson's book entitled "Elementary Fluid Dynamics". Below is from problem 3.1. Consider the Euler equation for an ideal fluid in the irrotational case. We ...
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What makes laminar cascade break?

Near my house there is a mall that have a cascade, which has a pratically constant flow, and doesn't seem to have perturbations (at least near the edge where water falls), between its two levels. ...
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How you call the constant $\alpha$ within the heat equation in general and in terms of electromagnetism?

The heat equation or diffusion equation does contain a constant $\alpha$. $$\frac{\partial u}{\partial t} - \alpha \nabla^2 u=0$$ How is it called? I'm interested in a general name which can be ...
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15 views

Why does absorption cause seismic pulses to increase in length over distance?

The specific question I'm trying to answer is "How does the progressive loss of higher frequencies in a propagating seismic pulse lead to an increase in pulse length?" I understand how the higher ...
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How can sound waves propagate through air?

We know that the sound waves propagate through air, and it can't travel through vacuum. so the thing that help it doing that is the air's molecules pressure. So my question how can that happens? I ...
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850 views

Relationship between slit size and wavelength in diffraction

Almost in every book on physics we can find a statement like "diffraction gets stronger when the size of the slit is comparable to the wavelength". Let's say we have a wall in a bathtub with a slit in ...
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Question on envelope-carrier description of traveling wave

I'm doing a research internship in attosecond physics right now, and one of the really important things in the field is the description of a propagating laser pulse as the combination of a slowly (or ...
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2answers
66 views

Need help visualising transverse waves

From studying waves I find that I can visualise longitudinal waves where the wave propagates in the direction of the displacement. However I don't understand what causes the propagation perpendicular ...
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63 views

Questions related to resonance/standing-waves and sound

I understand resonance for a simple harmonic oscillator but not for more complex systems like standing waves. How can I be in resonance with the normal mode in an organ pipe? I understand that the ...
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38 views

Woodwind instruments overtones [duplicate]

When playing woodwind instruments, e.g., flute, if one blows harder, the sound will be one octave higher. Even harder gives even higher overtones. Does anyone know why?
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Where does wave frequency come from

I am trying to wrap my head around where do oscillations in electromagnetic waves come from. As an example if I would take a string of guitar and ring it, it would produce a certain sound based on the ...
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68 views

Power of Shockwaves

My question is about shockwaves and their power when they are created/how do they lose their power? Let's say that we have ground 0 with 10 grams of TATP on it. The detonation velocity of TATP is ...
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13 views

Particle displacement at a rarefaction or compression

In a longitudinal wave, why is there zero particle displacement at a compression or rarefaction and maximum displacement at a point pi/2 from it? Shouldn't it be the other way round?
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Why are AC quantities represented by sine waves always?

Usually we use a sinusoidal wave form to represent a alternating quantity. Why not a cosinusoidal wave or a ramp wave form? In sine wave forms we can indicate the maximum and minimum amplitude and ...
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1answer
31 views

Single slit diffraction pattern in 2D

I was looking at previous exams and I saw a question with single slit diffraction. Please look at picture on the website: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=4807732#post4807732 So, this ...
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3answers
310 views

Are matter waves transverse and can they be polarized?

Are matter waves transverse and can they be polarized? What I know:I'm aware of the de Broglie matter waves hypothesis and de Broglie wavelength relation(at a very basic level as part of high school ...
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45 views

Double slit experiment with slit material acting as a detector

Suppose the classic experimental setup of the double slit experiment. What is the probability that an electron does not pass through the slits? That is, for every single electron that comes from ...
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10answers
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Why do we think of light as a wave?

I've read that light travels in a straight line and has a wavelength of 400nm to 700nm. But I don't understand why does it have a wavelength and what creates its wavelength? I agree with the concept ...
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It seems that the harmonic (integer multiple) overtones of a sound usually all have the same phase. Is this true, and if so why?

And if you were to give each of them different phases, would the sound start to sound "off", or would it sound the same? All the same frequencies would be present, which makes me think it might sound ...
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57 views

Sea surfer position displacement

Waves are means by which the energy propagates through a medium (e.g., sea water). This is not associated with a net movement of water in the direction of wave propagation. If this is the case, then ...
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28 views

Cavity dynamics from traveling waves to standing waves

This is a question on mathematical physics. The conventional reasoning about the characteristic wave modes in a cavity is to apply the boundary conditions, namely, wave amplitude is equal to 0, and ...
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1answer
24 views

Trouble understanding phase matching equation

consider a 2nd order non linear optical material, i.e. a material in which it holds that $ P = \epsilon_0 E + 2dE^2$. In the Born approximation, the non linear contribution to the polarization density ...
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Are water waves (i.e. on the surface of the ocean) longitudinal or transverse?

I'm convinced that water waves for example: are a combination of longitudinal and transverse. Any references or proofs of this or otherwise?
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117 views

Dispersion-less media

As far as I know, vacuum is the only dispersion free medium for electromagnetic waves. This makes me wonder if there are any other dispersion free media for these waves? (Experimentally established or ...
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102 views

Electric field generated by a point charge moving at the speed of light

As you see, this is the electric field generated by a point charge moving at constant speed v. I know that when $v$ -> 0, $E$ is just the Coloumb Law. But how do you interpret $E$ when $v$ -> $c$ ? ...
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57 views

Tuned Mass Damper

I was learning about the different applications of resonance and one of them is the tuned mass damper used in buildings. One thing I am confused about is as to why the mass attached to the building ...
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3answers
195 views

How does one determine whether an object will make an EM wave refract in a qualitative way?

for example, i have a vague notion that the actual answer is that the permittivity and permisivity are different in each different material, so all waves refract at every boundary, but we only call it ...
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Snells Law: Does the k vector change on the boundary between mediums?

I was using Waves - Berkley Physics Volume III, and in explaining Snell's Law the author claims that as a wave is on the boundary between glass and air (going from glass to air) that the number of ...
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Can random constructive interference with sound waves cause damage?

Any two sound waves have a random chance to constructively interfere with each other at a given spot and this will cause an increase or decrease in pressure. So is it possible that a large number of ...
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34 views

Can the motion of a cracking whip be described as the interference of two waves?

I was watching a whip crack in slow motion and I noticed that the motion of the whip could be described using two different circular descriptions. 1) the user circles the whip around over his head, ...
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1answer
99 views

Period of Double Slit Experiment

What is the period of the pattern from the double slit experiment? It varies along the pattern right? Namely I'm confused because when considering two point sources (See: Period of Interference ...
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4answers
6k views

Why is energy in a wave proportional to amplitude squared

I'm a mathematics student trying to grasp some basics about wave propagation. A sentence I find very often in introductive physics textbooks is the following: In a wave, energy is proportional to ...
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0answers
47 views

Intuitively proof that intensity of a wave is proportional to the square of its amplitude [duplicate]

Firstly I would like to know if this is valid for every kind of wave, or are there any conditions/exceptions where this is not valid. But the main question is, is it possible to prove this fact for a ...
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1answer
96 views

Why does a minor vertical vibration cause my coffee to spill?

When I walk my kid sometimes I put a cut of coffee in a cupholder attached to the stroller. When I push the stroller over a brick pavement it seems to vibrate vertically. That is enough for the coffee ...
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49 views

What can make signal triangulation tricky?

Usually, when you're trying to find a source of whatever signal, you move around the source and then calculate the position using triangulation. I'm specifically talking about low frequency signals, ...
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Choice of sign of exponential argument affecting tractability of wave reflection at a boundary

It is possible to show that functions of the form $f_{1}(kx-\omega t)$, $g_{1}(kx+\omega t)$, $f_{2}(\omega t-kx)$ and $g_{2}(\omega t+kx)$ are all solutions of the wave equation ...
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Sound Wave out of phase

I connected my speakers to my sound system switching the +ve and -ve one of the speakers I can notice them beating out of phase but how come I don't hear any difference and at what position will it ...
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2answers
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Interpretation of dispersion relation

In my research, I found that my system has the following dissipation relation: $$\omega^2=k^2+k_0^2\ , $$ where $k_0^{-1}$ is an intrinsic lengthscale of the system and the units are chosen so that ...
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Unpolarized Light

Suppose I had a ray of unpolarized light, and I was sitting inside the beam and looking at the electric fields oscillating, then , if I am looking at a point how would the oscillations look like? I ...
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1answer
182 views

Relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation

What exactly is the relationship between the continuity equation and the wave equation? Suppose $J^\mu$ is a contravariant vector that satisfies the continuity equation $\partial_\mu J^\mu=0$. Let ...
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4answers
564 views

Do Electromagnetic Waves really propagate through continuous Induction?

I've often seen it said that in an Electromagnetic Wave the changing Electric Field component creates the Magnetic Field Component and the changing Magnetic Field Component in turn creates an Electric ...
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Finding the speed of a standing wave from a graph?

I am supposed to find the wave speed of a standing wave from a graph of frequency vs linear density, and I'm not exactly sure how. Any help would be great, thanks.
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Total internal reflection and waveguides

I'm looking at a model of a planar dielectric waveguide along the lines of this picture: For the wave inside the $n_1$ dielectric slab to totally internally reflect $\theta_M$ needs to be smaller ...
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Resonant Frequency & Opera Singers [closed]

Would it be possible under math of strings to note the frequency of each string vibrations? And in doing so, in hand with using the technique opera singers use to shatter glass with their voice, would ...
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1answer
22 views

Compute impulse response of a cavity for sound waves

Given a (closed or not) surface and a point emitting a spherical sound wave, how can I calculate the wave amplitude in any point of space, considering reflections on this surface ? The idea is to ...
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1answer
25 views

Wave frequencies and barrier width?

I know a fact that says a wave can go through barriers thinner than its length. This is why for example FM radio can be picked anywhere while antenna TV needs direct sight to the transmitter. Is this ...
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1answer
46 views

Heat diffusion: evanescent waves?

It has been recently pointed out to me that the solution of the heat equation in a semi-infinite material with an oscillating boundary condition at the surface is not an evanescent wave. The argument ...
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1answer
46 views

Standing sound wave in a wind instrument

So I've had this question bugging me ever since I saw sound at physics class: How is it possible to match the resonance frequency of a column of air in an organ pipe and form a standing sound wave by ...
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4answers
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Can I compute the mass of a coin based on the sound of its fall?

Other day, I bumped my bookshelf and a coin fell down. This gave me an idea. Is it possible to compute the mass of a coin, based on the sound emitted when it falls? I think that there should be a ...
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174 views

Why doesn't the magnetic field polarize when polarizing light?

If the magnetic field doesn't polarize does it follow the electric field path of propagation? or does it vanish?