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The Standing Wave

In physics, a standing wave, also known as a stationary wave, is a wave which oscillates in time but whose peak amplitude profile does not move in space. The peak amplitude of the wave oscillations at any point in space is constant with time, and the oscillations at different points throughout the wave are in phase.

Standing waves were first noticed by Michael Faraday in 1831. Faraday observed standing waves on the surface of a liquid in a vibrating container.

Examples of standing waves include the vibration of a violin string and electron orbitals in an atom.

Two people shaking either end of a jump rope is also a good visual to understand the idea of standing waves.

If they shake the rope in sync, it can form a pattern of waves oscillating up and down, with points along the rope where the rope’s arc is at a maximum (antinode) and points where the rope is almost still (node).


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