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Question about phase constant

  1. Jan 22, 2013 #1
    we have the wave equation as follows with non zero phase constant:

    y(x,t) = ym * sin(k( x - PHI/k) - wt)

    y(x,t) = ym * sin(kx - w(t + PHI / w))

    I don't understand where did the PHI /k or PHI / w came from ??

    I understand how did we derive the wave equation but I don't understand this part.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2013 #2
    You just substitute in and both equation are the same.

    But the more basic thing is, I never seen any book write it this way, that is very confusing. The three terms are totally independent. [itex]\omega t[/itex] is the time dependent, kx is distance dependent, and [itex] \phi[/itex] is a phase constant. You don't confuse this more by mixing them together as if they are related.

    People usually set either t=0 or x=0 as a reference and generate two separate equations that relate t or x with [itex]\phi[/itex]. With this, you can generate two separate graphs of (y vs t) or (y vs x).
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  4. Jan 22, 2013 #3
    I see but what is then the reason for putting it in this form? What is the logic behind it ?
  5. Jan 22, 2013 #4
    I don't see the logic and I never seen any book that presented it this way. I disagree with the book. In fact, I am at this very moment doing a lot of digging and asking questions regarding to these very kind of phasing issue with respect to direction of propagation, been searching through a lot of books and no body tries to put the equation like this way.......as if it is not confused enough dealing with phase constant with respects to t and x alone.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  6. Jan 23, 2013 #5
    they just come from simple manipulation,there is nothing special about it.Don't break your head on this.
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