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Solitons vs standard waves

  1. Jan 29, 2015 #1
    I have just started reading about them, so forgive my basic question. I wonder how a "standard" wave propagating on a string whose end has been moved and brought back to its initial position is different from a soliton. Or is it indeed a solitary wave?

    I ask because when studying waves before, I had never encountered solitons, which make me think that the two are different things and I am just getting confused here.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Solitons are a bit different. Standard waves will disapate over time ie spread out and get smaller whereas a soliton will maintain its shape for far longer and appear not to spread or get smaller.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soliton

    I remember seeing a video of a soliton wave made by a boat traversing a canal as if created by a ghost ship.
     
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