Can water waves be reflected and refracted? Give examples. Does Huygens’s principle apply to water waves? Explain.

Expert Answers

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Waves on the surface of water can. This is much more easily observed with a stroboscopic ripple tank but there are other ways. Huygens principle does apply to water waves.

If you live near an ocean cliff you should be able to observe these phenomena. With small waves on relatively calm water you will be able to see waves reflecting off the base of the cliff or even off the hull of a ship.

Refraction is when the speed of the waves changes according to the depth of the water. If you can see straight (plane) waves approaching the shore you should see the waves "bunch up" as they get closer to a beach.

If you see them approaching the beach at an angle they should change direction slightly, which is an illustration of Huygens Principle.



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