group velocity

The group velocity of a wave is the velocity with which the overall shape of the waves' amplitudes — known as the modulation or envelope of the wave — propagates through space.

For example, imagine what happens if a stone is thrown into the middle of a very still pond. When the stone hits the surface of the water, a circular pattern of waves appears. It soon turns into a circular ring of waves with a quiescent center. The ever expanding ring of waves is the wave group, within which one can discern individual wavelets of differing wavelengths traveling at different speeds. The longer waves travel faster than the group as a whole, but they die out as they approach the leading edge. The shorter waves travel more slowly and they die out as they emerge from the trailing boundary of the group. Wikipedia, Group Velocity (external link)

Page last modified on Thursday 06 of June, 2013 04:53:52 MDT

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