Detail Page

Item Picture
published by the PhET
Available Languages: English, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese
This webpage contains an interactive simulation that allows users to study Fourier series expansions of waves. The amplitude of up to 11 harmonics may be selected for a wave in one dimension, allowing users to create a variety of wave functions. Waves can be examined as a function of space, time, or both, and tools are provided for measuring wavelengths and periods. Functions of sine and cosine may be used. Users can also choose to display mathematical equations describing their waves in three different forms. The limit of Fourier integrals and continuous wave packets can also be examined. In addition to constructing their own waves, users can also play a wave game and try to match a given pattern by selecting the Fourier amplitudes.

The page also contains a teacher's guide as well as user-submitted idea and activities for use with this simulation.

This page is part of a large and growing collection. It has been designed using principles from physics education research and refined based on student interviews.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Mathematical Tools
- Series and Functions
Oscillations & Waves
- Acoustics
= Wave Analysis and Synthesis
- Instruments
- Wave Motion
= Wave Properties of Sound
Other Sciences
- Mathematics
Quantum Physics
- Approximation Techniques
- Probability, Waves, and Interference
- Upper Undergraduate
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
= Tutorial
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
- text/html
  • Currently 0.0/5

Want to rate this material?
Login here!

Access Rights:
Free access
© 2007 University of Colorado, Physics Education Technology
Additional information is available.
Fourier, superposition, wave packet, wavelength
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 2, 2006 by Gifford Weber
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Other Collections:

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
, Version 3.01 (PhET, Boulder, 2007), WWW Document, (
PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves, , Version 3.01 (PhET, Boulder, 2007), <>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves. (2007). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from PhET:
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves. Boulder: PhET, 2007. (accessed 14 August 2018).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves. Vers. 3.01. Boulder: PhET, 2007. 14 Aug. 2018 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2018}, Number = {14 August 2018}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves
%D 2007
%C Boulder
%O 3.01
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2007
%T PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves
%V 2018
%N 14 August 2018
%7 3.01
%9 application/java

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

This resource is stored in 4 shared folders.

You must login to access shared folders.

PhET Simulation: Fourier: Making Waves:

Know of another related resource? Login to relate this resource to it.
Save to my folders



Related Materials

Similar Materials

Featured By

Mar 2 - Apr 2, 2009

Physics To Go
Nov 16 - Dec 1, 2009