Standing Wave

Topics: Wave, Wavelength / Pages: 3 (645 words) / Published: Nov 4th, 2010
Standing wave

Standing waves in a string — the fundamental mode and the first 6 overtones.
A standing wave, also known as a stationary wave, is a wave that remains in a constant position. This phenomenon can occur because the medium is moving in the opposite direction to the wave, or it can arise in a stationary medium as a result of interference between two waves traveling in opposite directions. In the second case, for waves of equal amplitude travelling in opposing directions, there is on average no net propagation of energy.
As an example of the first type, under certain meteorological conditions standing waves form in the atmosphere in the lee of mountain ranges. Such waves are often exploited by glider pilots.
Standing waves and hydraulic jumps also form on fast flowing river rapids and tidal currents such as the Saltstraumen maelstrom.
Opposing waves

Standing wave in stationary medium. The red dots represent the wave nodes.

A standing wave (black) depicted as the sum of two propagating waves traveling in opposite directions (red and blue).

Electric force vector (E) and magnetic force vector (H) of a standing wave.
As an example of the second type, a standing wave in a transmission line is a wave in which the distribution of current, voltage, or field strength is formed by the superposition of two waves propagating in opposite directions. The effect is a series of nodes (zero displacement) and anti-nodes (maximum displacement) at fixed points along the transmission line. Such a standing wave may be formed when a wave is transmitted into one end of a transmission line and is reflected from the other end by an impedance mismatch, i.e., discontinuity, such as an open circuit or a short. The failure of the line to transfer power at the standing wave frequency will usually result in attenuation distortion.
Another example are standing waves in the open ocean formed by waves with the same wave period moving in opposite directions. These may form

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