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Shape of ripple on water

  1. Sep 30, 2005 #1
    Why are ripples on water only circular in shape? Why arent they of the shape of the object dropped in them? Like triangular or square?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2005 #2


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    The ripples are not circular - right near the disturbance! They only become approximately circular in the far field where the distance from the disturbance and the dominant wavelengths are large compared with the size of the disturbing object.
  4. Oct 2, 2005 #3
    Does surface tension play any part in the process of ripple formation?
  5. Oct 2, 2005 #4
    the circular shape is the most fundamental shape in the universe, because it can distribute the force evenly...
  6. Oct 2, 2005 #5


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    Or is it the sphere?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2005
  7. Oct 3, 2005 #6

    Claude Bile

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    Diffraction effects tend to 'iron out' small features one might find in a wavefront. As the distance from the object becomes large, the object looks increasingly like a point object, and thus at large enough distances, the diffraction pattern becomes circular.

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