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Physics

Module 3: Waves and Thermodynamics

Reflection, Refraction, Diffraction and Wave Superposition

What is reflection, refraction, diffraction and wave superposition?

In this post, we explain the behaviour of waves in a variety of situations by investigating the phenomena of reflection, refraction, diffraction and wave superposition, as a part of the Prelim Physics course under the module Waves and Thermodynamics and sub-part Wave Behaviour.

Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated, while refraction is the change in direction of a wave passing from one medium to another. Diffraction is the bending of waves around obstacles and openings. Wave superposition occurs when two or more waves are travelling through the same medium at the same time, the net displacement at any point in time, is simply the sum of the individual wave displacements.

The following two videos cover the wide range of wave behaviour, including reflection, refraction, diffraction and wave superposition.

Part 1: Wave behaviour

 

Part 2: Further wave behaviour