What is destructive interference?

Question:

What is destructive interference?

Interference

Interference of waves is a natural phenomenon wherein two or more waves superpose which produces a wave with different amplitude. Superposition of waves occurs when waves are travelling through the same medium and depending on the phase between the waves interference may be constructive or destructive.

Answer and Explanation:


Interference occurs when waves traveling through the same medium meet. When the waves are {eq}180^{\circ} {/eq} out of phase, or the amplitude are in opposite direction, the superposition of these waves results in a cancellation of their amplitude and the resulting wave has zero or smaller amplitude than the two waves.

Shown in the figure below is an example of two waves where destructive interference occurs.


The opposite of destructive interference is constructive interference where the amplitude of the resultant wave has a larger amplitude that the original waves.


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The Resultant Amplitude of Two Superposed Waves

from MEGA Physics: Practice & Study Guide

Chapter 15 / Lesson 10
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