01270 747 008 (UK)

Standing Waves

Standing Waves 

Standing Wave AnimationAnother form of interference can produce what is known as a standing wave. A standing wave pattern is formed when two waves of the same frequency interfere whilst traveling in opposite directions. The diagram below shows how two such waves (green & blue) of the same frequency will interfere to produce a standing wave (red). The blue wave and the green wave interfere according to the principles of superposition. This means that they will add together to form a new (resultant) wave, which in this case is a standing wave.

From this animation we can see that there are fixed points on the wave, at which no displacement occurs. These points are known as nodes, and are evenly spaced along the wave. The nodes are formed by the destructive interference of the two original waves, thus all the motion is canceled. The points along the wave at which there is maximum displacement are known as anti nodes. These are caused by the constructive interference of the original waves. When the standing wave is at maximum displacement it energy is said to be entirely in the ‘real’. When the wave is flat, or at minimum displacement the energy is entirely in the imaginary (i). Thus the energy oscillates between the real and the imaginary (i). The term ‘imaginary’ is used in mathematics to develop equations and is not to be taken as literally meaning imaginary.

Rubens Tube Experiment
This video shows how we can visualise the standing waves produced from sound waves interfering inside a tube. This experiment is known as a Rubens Tube. Thanks to youtube user twinrawk for uploading the video and explaining it well..

Common Misconceptions
The mysterious properties of electromagnetic waves and interference have lead some people to abandon conventional physics. A form of wave known as a scalar wave is said to vibrate entirely between the imaginary realm and some ‘higher dimension’. This theory is mainly the work of Tom Bearden, but there are many supporters of this theory. The next section give details of the ‘Scalar field theory’ and also gives an explanation to why it is not accepted by standard science.

Next Page: Scalar Waves
Previous Page: Properties of Waves


  1. i’m confussed;D

  2. im confuzzled. 😀

  3. Dude, tell me you didn’t say bru-BECK….otherwise bumpin’.

  4. Anyone familiar with bifilar coil currents in a moving magnetic field, or, bosons with spin = three halves, knows scalar fields exist within established physics … the “imaginary” stationary reference at “zero point” being the quadrupole of light as it passes around the earth at various spin rates (depending on the temperature and density of the matter it passes thru)which we percieve as “time”, “weather”, “magnetism”, and “gravity”
    but which are simply functions of the innermost rings of adjacent atoms, as they line up and march in rows and columns from the equator, spinning east-west one full circle for every north-south step, as in stairsteps ; see magnetic domains for more on stairstep alternation of positrons and electrons as they march thru (and create) time.

  5. Thanks for pointing that out Jan. Thats a good example of what can happen if you don’t check your spell checker!

    The word has now been replaced with the correct one of “superposition”

  6. The word “superstition” you are using in this section expresses a totally different thing than what you are intending to explain, according to my dictionary. I like these lessons very much !

Leave a Reply