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Sound Waves, Interference and Doppler Effect

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A series of free Online High School Physics Video Lessons.

In this lesson, we will learn

  • Wave Interference
  • Wave Beats
  • Wave Inversion
  • Diffraction
  • Doppler Effect

Wave Interference

Wave interference is the result of the interactions of multiple waves. Types of interference include constructive and destructive interferences. The difference between the two is the relative displacement of the waves. Wave interference often causes wave beats. Wave pulse is a short, non periodic, wave formed by a single input of energy rather than a continuous or repeated input of energy.
Understanding wave interference and wave pulse.
A brief introduction to constructive and destructive wave interference and the principle of superposition
Apply the principle of superposition to the phenomenon of wave interference

Wave Beats

Wave beats are sounds produced by the combination of two waves with almost the same frequencies. Wave beats are caused by wave interference.
Understanding wave beats.
This is a lecture on the topic of beats.

Wave Inversion

Wave inversion occurs when a traveling wave is flipped upside down when being reflected back into the old medium. This happens during the process of a wave moving through one medium encounters a boundary between that medium and another medium. Rigid waves always invert.
Understanding the inversion of waves.


Diffraction is the bending of a wave as it changes medium. Waves with small wavelengths, like light, show very little diffraction. Waves with large wavelengths like low pitched sound show major effects diffraction.
An explanation of diffraction and how diffraction works.
Light Wave Diffraction

Doppler Effect

The Doppler effect is when either the source or observer of a wave in relative motion. The wave is perceived differently by an observer in motion and appears to be squished in front of the path of the observer and stretched in behind it. Redshift is the term used for the increase in the wavelength of light that is moving away. Red has lower wavelength than other colors of light. Blueshift is the term used for light moving towards the observer because its wavelength increases.
Understanding how the Doppler Effect works.
The Doppler Effect - with examples

Try the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice various math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.
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