Waves in a ripple tank

Waves in a ripple tank

The wave doesn’t just stop when it reaches the end of the medium. Rather, a wave will undergo certain waves in a ripple tank when it encounters the end of the medium.

The study of waves in two dimensions is often done using a ripple tank. A ripple tank is a large glass-bottomed tank of water that is used to study the behavior of water waves. A light typically shines upon the water from above and illuminates a white sheet of paper placed directly below the tank. Reflection of Waves If a linear object attached to an oscillator bobs back and forth within the water, it becomes a source of straight waves. These straight waves have alternating crests and troughs. As viewed on the sheet of paper below the tank, the crests are the dark lines stretching across the paper and the troughs are the bright lines.

The discussion above pertains to the reflection of waves off of straight surfaces. But what if the surface is curved, perhaps in the shape of a parabola? What generalizations can be made for the reflection of water waves off parabolic surfaces? Suppose that a rubber tube having the shape of a parabola is placed within the water. Refraction of Waves Reflection involves a change in direction of waves when they bounce off a barrier. Refraction of waves involves a change in the direction of waves as they pass from one medium to another.