Navigate to course home page

Visualizing Reflected and Transmitted Waves

Keywords: Reflection, Transmission, Animation, Harmonic Wave, Standing Wave Ratio, Abrupt Boundary

Highlights of the activity

  1. This computer visualization activity is designed to help upper-division undergraduate students understand the concepts of reflection and transmission of a single-frequency sinusoidal wave, as well as the continuity of the derivative of the waveform at the boundary.
  2. Students observe the Maple/Mathematica animation of the total waveform and its constituent incident, reflected, and transmitted components. Students ask questions.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on students' observations and addresses students' questions.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students gain enormous insight from viewing the animation. It prompts many questions and much discussion. Students have often told the instructor that this particular exercise was pivotal for them because they had never seen an animation of a superposition of a left- and right-traveling wave before.


Instructor's Guide

Maple Worksheet (Maple 13)

Mathematica Notebook


Authors: Janet Tate
To edit this page, go here

Personal Tools