Standing Waves

Standing waves are a wave that remains in a constant position (in other words, the medium itself is carrying the wave, but the medium is not moving). There are two ways standing waves can be created. Either the medium can move in the opposite direction of the wave or, what we will focus on here, there is two waves in opposite directions moving through the medium.

Using the law of superposition, which shows how waves that collide will be added together (thus why two waves on the same side will become bigger, while on opposite sides, they will either reduce or cancel out the wave). In standing waves, the waves are on opposite sides, causing the wave to have parts where the wave will move in one direction, then get canceled out, before moving in the opposite direction. The places where they cancel out are called nodes and the parts that will move are loops or antinodes. This is best explained by the following diagram:

An illustration of a standing wave


This can be shown as an animation:

An animation of a standing wave


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