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Why the water waves bend in diffraction?

  1. Jul 6, 2006 #1
    Waves bend when they pass throungh a narrow gap.It is the definition of diffraction.
    what is the reason that when the water waves pass through a narrow gap in ripple tank the wavefronts become circular?
    what is the reason that when the water waves pass through a wide slit in ripple tank the wavefronts remain straight?
    please explain.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2006 #2
    This can be explained using Huygen's Principle, where the wavefront at any point is considered to generate a circular wave at every point to advance itself. I didn't say that very well, but the Link may explain better. Be sure to check out the java applets link at the bottom of the Wikipedia page.

    I like to think of it in this way. Whenever a wave encounters a "disturbance", it will generate a circular "ripple" centered at that disturbance. This sort of explains reflection, refraction and diffusion.
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