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Waves

What is Diffraction?

Any type of wave can be diffracted.
A diffracted wave will "spread out".

When does Diffraction happen?

Diffraction occurs when the wavelength of a wave
is of a similar size to an obstacle or a gap in a barrier.
After diffraction,
a wave will have the same speed, frequency and wavelength.

The Diffraction of Sound Waves.

A sound wave with a frequency of 500 Hz
has a wavelength of 0·66 m (see calculations).
Sound waves
will diffract (spread out) when they pass
through a doorway (which is approximately 0·8 m wide)
because the wavelength (
0·66 m)
is of a similar size to the doorway (
0·8 m).

The Diffraction of Electromagnetic Waves.

Electromagnetic waves have a huge range of wavelengths.

Radio waves can diffract around hills,
mountains or even the whole planet.

Light waves can diffract through tiny slits.

X-rays can diffract around atoms.

The Diffraction of Water Waves.

Water waves can diffract
when passing through a gap in a harbour wall.

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