Constructive vs Destructive

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Molly Posta 1H
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:05 pm

Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Molly Posta 1H » Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:47 am

I'm having trouble understanding this question conceptually from the Wave Properties of Electrons post-assessment:

When the trough of one wave interacts with the trough of another wave is their interaction constructive or destructive?

I know if the trough of one wave were to interact with the peak of another, this would be destructive. Likewise, I know that peak and peak interaction would be constructive. I also know that the answer to this question would be constructive, but this doesn't make as much sense conceptually to me as the previous two examples. If both waves are at their lowest point, does the amplitude increase as the result of the sum of the two? Or is there not really a significant increase, it's just considered constructive because their crests line up as well?

Samuel Flores 1E
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:51 pm

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Samuel Flores 1E » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:03 am

Hello! Conceptually, constructive interference occurs when the troughs line up with each other, and when the peaks line up with each other. This results in constructive interference because in either case, the amplitude will increase. And because the amplitude increases, this signals that constructive interference has occurred.
So when the troughs of 2 waves line up with each other, their amplitudes will add together, which increases the resulting wave's amplitude and which thereby lets us know that constructive interference is involved.

Hope this helps!

Hasmik Dis 2F
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:50 pm

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Hasmik Dis 2F » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:56 am

I struggle with this too. My question is what overarching topic is this concept relevant to?

Bronson Mathos 1H
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:36 pm

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Bronson Mathos 1H » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:04 am

I believe this topic is related to the diffraction patterns of light in the experiment covered in the wave properties of electrons module, as the interaction of waves after they passed through the two slits of the barrier can produce constructive or destructive results depending on how the waves of light meet each other.

Gicelle Rubin 1E
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Gicelle Rubin 1E » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:05 am

Samuel Flores 2C wrote:Hello! Conceptually, constructive interference occurs when the troughs line up with each other, and when the peaks line up with each other. This results in constructive interference because in either case, the amplitude will increase. And because the amplitude increases, this signals that constructive interference has occurred.
So when the troughs of 2 waves line up with each other, their amplitudes will add together, which increases the resulting wave's amplitude and which thereby lets us know that constructive interference is involved.

Hope this helps!


Thank you for your explanation!!!

Hannah Biju 1E
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:55 pm

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Hannah Biju 1E » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:06 am

This concept is relevant to the overall topic of electrons behaving like waves. If they behaved only like particles they would deflect but when passed through a crystal they diffract showing that they also behave like waves. The diffraction pattern results from the constructive and destructive interactions.

Tobie Jessup 2E
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Constructive vs Destructive

Postby Tobie Jessup 2E » Sun Nov 01, 2020 10:57 pm

If there is either a trough-trough or a peak-peak interaction then it is constructive, but if it is trough-peak then it is a destructive interaction.


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