Standing and Stationary Waves on a String – A Level Physics

Published on February 9, 2015 by

Waves transfer energy, right? Well they can, but they can also store energy and not go anywhere at all.

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  • Aiknaath Jain 8 years ago

    Did you mean the distance between 2 nodes is lambda over 2?

    • Physics Online 8 years ago

      @Aiknaath Jain You’re right. A common mistake is that people think the distance from node to node is the wavelength when it is half the wavelength.

    • Rinu Pereira 5 years ago

      But how about the distance between two antinodes? Isn’t that a wavelength?

    • Chevish 5 years ago

      @Rinu Pereira Distance between two antinodes is still half wavelength

  • Abu Bardewa 8 years ago

    Videos are really really good.

  • Rajun Lehal 8 years ago

    Brilliant Videos

  • Callum McGregor 8 years ago

    Great video, really useful!

  • Samaa سماء 8 years ago

    Thank you! That was really helpful 🙂

  • Diego Gaston 8 years ago

    Great Video !!
    Here it is an animation of standing waves

  • Cardifyz 8 years ago

    Shouldn’t the 3rd harmonic be 3/2 Lambda

    • Pav Singh 7 years ago

      +Cardifyz you could rearrange to write it as L= so it’s L=3/2 Lambda , because L contains 1.5 wavelengths

    • tKnz 4 years ago

      1.5 wavelengths in one length
      therefore λ = L/ 1.5
      therefore λ = L / (3/2)
      therefore λ = 2L / 3 remember leave, change, flip

  • Amir Mohammed 8 years ago

    what are the characteristics of stationary waves ???

  • Nivedita Sharma 8 years ago

    Very very very nice… Thanks you saved me a lot of time!!

  • Nav Raja 7 years ago

    Your videos are good but i think u need to make your videos a bit slower. If u could do your videos in the style of mygcsescience that would be alot better instead of just doing revision videos…

    • Physics Online 7 years ago

      +Nav Raja I understad what you mean – they can go quite fast especially when there is a lot of new information to take on board and I take my time a bit more with some of my more recent videos. It is worth pausing and rewinding these videos when it does get to a tricky part.

    • Nav Raja 7 years ago

      +A Level Physics Online i REALLY appreciate you replying to my comment. I have a question? If i didnt look at the textbook but watched your videos would that be enough for me to get a good grade in physics? I understand i will have to read from the text book some what…but what if i mostly used my time to revise from your videos

    • Physics Online 7 years ago

      You’ve got to do both. These videos will help explain the topics but you need to see the information from more than one source, and with worked examples and questions that you set yourself to complete. 

    • Hasan Raza 7 years ago

      +A Level Physics Online Hi, at 0:56 you say the two progressive waves will have the same phase difference? It was my understanding that the two waves should be in antiphase in order for stationary waves to occur?

  • Hasan Raza 7 years ago

    Hi, at 0:56 you say the two progressive waves will have the same phase difference? It was my understanding that the two waves should be in antiphase in order for stationary waves to occur?

  • Naomi Snow 7 years ago

    really useful video thanks. Just wondering what is the difference between a stationary wave and a progressive wave in terms of phase difference?

    • Physics Online 7 years ago

      +Naomi Snow Phase difference can apply to both, do you have an example question where this comes up?

  • Usman Alamgir 7 years ago

    Your way of explanation is sooo awesome
    specially in less time , you cover a lot of stuffs
    Thanks 🙂

    • Physics Online 7 years ago

      +Usman Alamgir Thanks

  • hLyrics 7 years ago

    Thank you so much this helped a lot!

  • Momo 7 years ago

    Thanks so much! I was struggling with this topic.

  • Charlie Roberts 7 years ago

    At 2:31, did you mean to say ‘node’ instead of ‘antinode,’ as shouldn’t the sentence be “The distance from a node to another node is equal to the wavelength of that wave, over 2” (not “The distance from a node to another antinode is equal to the wavelength of that wave, over 2”)??

    • BennySavage - Tom Hillman 6 years ago


    • abir mojumder 6 years ago

      yea he made a mistake there

  • Ismail Zaman 6 years ago

    You sir are a live saver. Can’t thank you enough.

  • Waris Ali 6 years ago


  • Njeri Kiongo 6 years ago


  • Adxm27 6 years ago

    if the stationary wave doesnt transfer energy then why can you hear sound from a guitar?

    • Baruch Davis 5 years ago

      If I’ve understood correctly, at nodes the energy that would be transmitted by a progressive wave is cancelled out by the fact that in a standing wave, destructive interference occurs where the energy transferred is cancelled out and so noise from sound waves is cancelled out. However, at any other point in the wave, constructive interference between the transmitted wave and the reflected wave (which forms the standing wave), occurs, and so the amplitude is actually doubled at these points so at those place in the wave the sound produced is actually louder and it’s at these points where you actually hear the sound, loudest, at the antinodes.

    • tKnz 4 years ago

      misunderstoof it g. It holds most of its energy because it is being held at two points, so the wave is not progressing anywhere. But, the particles in the wave are vibrating. This trasnfers vibrations to the air, causing sound

    • Mridula Sharma 3 years ago

      @tKnz thank you so so so much. I was dying for an answer to my question……

  • Lovely Being 6 years ago

    You are a life saver … Thank you so much … I’m able to understand much better

  • Tamara Osbourne 5 years ago

    What is the pattern between the different harmonic patterns?

  • Onim 5 years ago

    Sir those explanations are really good

  • Divyia Nantha Balan 5 years ago

    Hi 🙂 Great video.
    Quick question: isn’t wavelength supposed to be the distance between 2 consecutive nodes/antinodes? why is it lambda over 2 for the fundamental frequency

    • Sidharth Shambu 5 years ago

      Distance between 2 consecutive nodes or antinodes is HALF OF WAVE LENGTH

  • I like Airplanes ok 5 years ago

    1:41 can this ever form from EM waves like light waves

  • Demon-鬼 5 years ago

    Thank you!
    You just saved me from my misconception about it.

  • Joe Hindley 5 years ago

    could you go through similarities and differences of progressive and stationary waves? It is on the spec, but I can’t find any information on it online.

  • Aiman Sani 5 years ago

    where do you pluck the string to form stationary waves?

  • L2K4S 5 years ago


  • Maisam Askari 5 years ago

    shouldnt the reflected wave cause interference and cancel out the produced wave???

    • tKnz 4 years ago

      its in phase, so the interference is constructive

  • Khaalid Gabily 5 years ago

    Thanks again and again

  • À Human 4 years ago

    Dude, just two words… THANK YOU

    • Physics Online 4 years ago

      No problem!

    • À Human 4 years ago

      @Physics Online I never thought you’d reply but Happy New Year! Thank you very very much for making lives easier for self taught A level students like me. We really appreciate your existence in this world and all your unconditional efforts to make Physics enjoyable and understandable for students around the world! God bless you

  • A Gamer's Look 4 years ago

    Mate you might just have saved my Physics A-Level

  • Marie Hill 4 years ago

    What does the period of a standing wave exactly mean?

  • Gapos01 4 years ago

    Thank you

  • Marie Hill 4 years ago

    Does that mean when a stationary wave is created, at the nodes is there deconstructive interference and at antinodes there is constructive interference?

    • Physics Online 4 years ago

      That’s right

    • Marie Hill 4 years ago

      GCSE and A Level Physics Online thank you!

  • angelino z 4 years ago

    At 4:06 you have written 3rd Harmonic as Lambda= 2/3 L. Shouldn’t it be Lambda= 3/2 L for 3rd Harmonic?

    • Sanjey Kumaravel 4 years ago

      1/3 L =lambda/2 so from that we can say lambda = 2/3 L

  • Ryan ! 3 years ago

    what is the difference between a maxima and an anti-node?

  • The Rust Admin 3 years ago

    Nice animation!

Comments are closed.