# Calculatethe direction of a wave

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To start of, i'm new to physics Forums.
My thoughts this evening are directed to a physics question. "How to calculate a direction of a wave".
The things i believe i need is three sensors that indicates When the wave passes the equipment.
I will measure each specific time and compare them against each other. The velocity of the wave will be unknown and i have tried some methods, but came out with nonsens.

Does anybody here have any suggestions about how to solve this kind of problem?

With kind regards, Viktor

RPinPA
Homework Helper
Are you talking about a measurement? Measuring the time when the wave passes two different sensors will certainly give you both the direction and magnitude of the velocity.

Velocity = (change in position) / time

The change in position is a vector, the distance and direction from the first sensor to the second.
Of course with only three sensors, you won't have a very high resolution measurement of the direction since you only have three possible directions (the sides of the triangle) you are checking.

It's hard to say more without any details of what you are trying to do, such as what kind of wave you're talking about.

Merlin3189
Homework Helper
Gold Member
TThe velocity of the wave will be unknown and i have tried some methods, but came out with nonsens.
You don't say what methods you tried. So I don't know why measuring the time at each of the three sensors did not give you what you wanted.

What puzzles me is the bit about "when the wave passes the equipment." I see waves as continuing things. Say you were trying to find the direction of flow of water by putting three sensors on the sea bed and measuring "when the sea passes the equipment." I think you might have the same problem.

Now, I ask what you mean by waves here. Are you generating waves and then detecting them somewhere else and trying to work out a direction?
A continuous wave would give you a phase difference between the sensors, but without knowing the speed, I'm not sure you can determine direction.
You could generate a wave pulse, as with radar, and have more chance of success.

If the wave is modulated (by you or whatever the source is) you can find the relative time at each sensor, by finding the time difference at which they correlate.