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written by Barney Taylor
This Java applet shows the addition of two waves interacting on a string. One has a fixed amplitude of +2 and travels to the right; the amplitude of the second wave may be adjusted (full, half or zero and positive or negative) and travels to the left.  This simulation was developed to promote understanding of the Superposition Principle: the resulting wave from any number of waves interacting with each other is the algebraic sum of all of the waves at every instant. Although simple, it is quite elegant in depicting the process so that it is comprehensible for adolescent learners.

This item is part of a larger collection of Java applets by the same author.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Interference and Diffraction
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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© 2004 Miami University, Ohio
Java applet, Superposition Principle, interactive simulation, interference, reflection and refraction, simulation, wave addition, wave applet, wave motion, wave power, wave simulation
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created March 22, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
April 2, 2015 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 4, 2007

URL has changed

Author: Micah S
Posted: April 2, 2015 at 2:14PM
Source: The PSRC collection


Miami University in Ohio? Go figure.

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This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Wave Energy
Unit Title: How Waves Move and Interact: Reflection, Refraction, Interference

Exactly what happens to the amplitude of two waves on a single line when they meet each other?  Their amplitudes add.  This easy simulation helps students visualize exactly what is happening mathematically when two pulse waves "interfere" on a string.  They can slow the motion down to get a close look at the two wave graphs.  Be sure to ask them what happens if the two waves have the same frequency but one is positive and one negative (they cancel out at the point of greatest interference).

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Record Link
AIP Format
B. Taylor, (2004), WWW Document, (http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm).
B. Taylor, Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet (2004), <http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm>.
APA Format
Taylor, B. (2007, November 4). Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm
Chicago Format
Taylor, Barney. Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet. November 4, 2007. http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm (accessed 20 June 2024).
MLA Format
Taylor, Barney. Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet. 2004. 4 Nov. 2007. 20 June 2024 <http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Barney Taylor", Title = {Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {20 June 2024}, Month = {November 4, 2007}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A Barney Taylor %T Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet %D November 4, 2007 %U http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Taylor, Barney %D November 4, 2007 %T Wave Phenomena Simulations: Pulse Addition Applet %V 2024 %N 20 June 2024 %8 November 4, 2007 %9 application/java %U http://physics.ham.miamioh.edu/waveapplets/pulseadd.htm

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

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

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