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Circular waves (water waves) HTML5


A wave is a disturbance that propagates as a result of initial vibration. If the vibration is maintained, the wave can occur periodically as is the case for this animation.

A wave is characterized by a propagation speed that depends on the environment. This can be of the order of cm / s, as is the case for waves on the water, a few km/s for a seismic wave or 300,000 km/s for an electromagnetic wave.

When a wave propagates in the circular surface of the water, the various points of the surface move vertically, with an elongation (amplitude) which depends on time and position.

Note: This simulation shows a circular wave that propagates without any change in amplitude. In the real case, conservation of energy requires that the amplitude of the wave decreases with distance.

Click and drag the amplitude sensors on the waves. 

Move the slider to change the wavelength

Learning goals

  • To illustrate the propagation of a periodic wave and compare the movement of two points obtained by the wave.
  • To define the conditions for two vibrating points in phase or out of phase.
  • To define period, frequency, wavelength, speed.
  • To illustrate and connect the temporal and spatial evolution of a wave.

Learn more

A periodic wave is characterized by the period T (or frequency f) and the wavelength λ.

  • The period T is expressed in seconds (s). This is the time between two consecutive maxima (one round…

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