interference


interference

In physics, the net effect of combining two or more wave trains moving on intersecting or coincident paths. Constructive interference occurs if two components have the same frequency and phase; the wave amplitudes are reinforced. Destructive interference occurs when the two waves are out of phase by one-half period (see periodic motion); if the waves are of equal amplitude, they cancel each other. Two waves moving in the same direction but having slightly different frequencies interfere constructively at regular intervals, resulting in a pulsating frequency called a beat. Two waves traveling in opposite directions but having equal frequencies interfere constructively in some places and destructively in others, resulting in a standing wave.

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