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Standing Waves or Stationary Waves

When two sets of progressive wave trains of same type (both longitudinal or both transverse) having the same amplitude and same time period/frequency/wavelength and traveling with same speed along the same straight line in opposite directions superimpose, a new set of waves are formed. These are called stationary waves or standing waves.

Characteristics of standing waves

  • The disturbance confined to a specific region between the starting point and reflecting point of the wave.
  • There are certain points in the medium in a standing wave, which are permanently at rest. These are called nodes. The distance between two consecutive nodes is λ/2.
  • Points of maximum amplitude is known as antinodes. The distance between two consecutive antinodes is also λ/2. The distance between a node and adjoining antinode is λ/4.
  • There is no forward motion of the disturbance from one particle to the adjoining particle and so on, beyond this particular region (between two consecutive nodes)
  • All the particles except those at nodes execute simple harmonic motion about their mean position with the same time period.
  • The amplitude of vibration of particles varies from zero at nodes to maximum at antinodes.
  • Twice during each vibration, all the particles of the medium pass simultaneously through their mean position.
  • The wavelength and time period of stationary waves are the same as for the component waves.
  • Velocity of particles while crossing mean position varies from maximum at antinodes to zero at nodes.
  • All the particles in one particular segment vibrate in the same phase. Particles in two consecutive segments differ in phase by 180°.

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