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Cnoidal waves vs solitons

  1. Feb 2, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    Im just wondering if someone could explain the difference between Cnoidal waves and solitons.
    I know that a soliton is self-reinforcing and can theoretically 'travel forever'. I am wondering as Cnoidal waves can be solutions of the KdV equation whether they are similar.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    In fluid dynamics, a cnoidal wave is a nonlinear and exact periodic wave solution of the Korteweg–de Vries equation. These solutions are in terms of the Jacobi elliptic function cn, which is why they are coined cnoidal waves. They are used to describe surface gravity waves of fairly long wavelength, as compared to the water depth.

  4. Feb 5, 2012 #3
    Thanks but that didnt really answer my question on whether or not Cnoidal waves travel without dispersing?
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