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Visualizing Reflected and Transmitted Waves

Keywords: Reflection, transmission, animation, harmonic wave, standing wave ratio, abrupt boundary

Highlights of the activity

  1. This computer visualization activity is designed to help upper-division undergraduate students understand the concepts of reflection and transmission, as well as the continuity of the derivative of the waveform at the boundary.
  2. Students observed the Maple/Mathematica animation and came up with questions.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on students' observation and addresses students' questions.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students gain enormous insight from viewing the animation. It prompts many questions and much discussion. Students have often told the instructor that this particular exercise was pivotal for them because they had never seen an animation of a superposition of a left- and right-traveling wave before.


Instructor's Guide

Maple Worksheet (Maple 13)

Mathematica Notebook


Authors: Janet Tate
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