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On The Nature of Transverse Waves

  1. Feb 10, 2008 #1
    hello all,
    i am new to this forum and to physics itself. I am a high school student who has studied physics for about two weeks. Regardless of this, while studying a question arose. it is this;

    according to the theory of superposition, two waves moving in opposite directions, one positive and one negative, will interact destructively causing the wave to level to the average position between these two waves. In the event that the waves are of the same magnitude, one being A(1)=X the other being A(2)=-X, the wave will level to zero, or, the particles' mean position. Let us take for example particle P which resides at the exact point of which the two waves would meet. when the positive wave hits P the particle will have a force applied to it, causing it to move in the positive direction (towards the peak of the positive wave). When we introduce the second, Negative, wave into this equation, particle P is having force applied from both sides; positive and negative. It is my understanding that the action that would result from this would be much like that of an object at rest; forces are balanced therefore it does not accelerate in any direction.
    Superposition seems to support this when it states that the wave would level to zero. In effect, the particles stop moving.

    It is my understanding that the way a wave commutes energy is through the vibration and movement of the particles of the medium.

    Superposition also states that after the addition of the Amplitudes of the waves, the waves both continue, unaffected, at their original amplitude, in their original direction.

    How can this be if the particles have ceased to move and therefore have ceased to transmit the energy?

    I know that superposition does occur in this form because it can be observed in numerous tests. what i don't understand is how the aforementioned instance can occur.

    any enlightenment would be very much appreciated.


  2. jcsd
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