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I wish to see a visualization of a (mechanical) wave propagating through a medium, e.g. my voice through air when I speak or waves into the depths of a glass of water (or the sea) when I dip my finger in it.

I do not wish for a visualization that shows the pressure or something similar at one point of the affected space depending on time, but an overall image. I imagine this being fairly difficult as we can't see through solid objects, but people can get creative sometimes.


My thoughts: I know how (surface) waves on water look. One can easily see where the water is higher and lower (crest and trough).

I can also understand how waves can be visualized in two dimensions:

Two waves interference

Here red can be understood as crest, dark blue as trough and azure as the "normal" state of the medium.

This image is easy enough, as I can replicate it (in poor quality) on water myself. I am aware that there is a fine difference between surface waves and transversal waves (as mentioned here), but as far as I understand, both (the latter in 2D) can be visualized with the image above. I have absolutely no idea how to generalize the image above to three dimensions.

Side note: My physical knowledge is, at best, based on school and occasionally reading wikipedia entries.

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  • $\begingroup$ You need to find a virtual reality simulation if you actually want to see 3D waves with your eyes. $\endgroup$ – David White May 9 '18 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidWhite Nowadays this doesn't sound impossible anymore, anyone working on that? $\endgroup$ – SK19 May 10 '18 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ try searching "3d simulation of waves" $\endgroup$ – anna v May 10 '18 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ @annav this mainly gives me 3d simulations of surface waves, which are nice to watch but not what I was asking for. Maybe you had a specific result in mind and could provide a link? $\endgroup$ – SK19 May 10 '18 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ sorry, no . I was just searching hoping to find something useful $\endgroup$ – anna v May 10 '18 at 10:59

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