Practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11- to 19-year-olds.
In partnership with

Ripples crossing: interference

Observing and explaining what happens when pulses and waves pass through each other. Interference effects are fundamental to wave behaviour.

This sequence of experiments allows students to see what happens when pulses and waves pass through each other. Amazingly, the two waves continue on their way as if there had never been an encounter. ‘Interference’ is an unfortunate term because the waves do not interfere with each other but rather pass through each other unchanged.

Experiments

Watching one ripple crossing another

Interference with two sources, using fingers

Interference with two sources, using vibrators

Interference with plastic wave model

Related Guidance

Using ripple tanks

Asking questions

Classroom management in semi-darkness

Using wave simulations