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Wave Interference


It is quite common to see two water waves meet, combine together for a moment, pass through each other and then reform as they were before. You can see this in the sea or in your own bath. This particular effect is called superposition and it deals with the interference between waves.

The principle of superposition states that if two or more waves of the same type are in the same place at the same time, their wave displacements add. When the waves completely add together we get constructive interference; when the waves completely cancel each other we get destructive interference.  

Principle of Superposition

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Superposition is the principle of interference. Superposition is defined as the combination of waves which originates from different sources. In other words, the total magnitude of the wave is the the sum of all individual magnitudes of the waves which originates from different sources.
If the wave is same phase the constructive interference will takes place. If it is in out of phase, destructive interference will take place. The details about these two are described in the next section.

Sound Wave Interference

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All waves show interference phenomena. If two sound waves travel through a medium, superposition takes place which is nothing but the sound wave interference. The amplitudes of the waves are added, the interference will be constructive. If they are travelling through a medium with different phase, the amplitude will cancel each other. Such type interference is known as destructive interference.
Constructive Destructive Wave

Constructive Wave Interference

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Constructive interference of two wave occurs when two waves are traveling through same medium and its amplitudes adding up each other. So, the amplitude of the resultant wave is larger than that of the input waves. If constructive interference occurs, the phases of two waves are same and travel with same frequency.

Destructive Wave Interference

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Destructive interference of two waves occurs when these waves are travel through a medium with 180º phase difference. When adding these amplitudes resultant will be zero. For interference also, the waves should travel with same frequency.