Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Performance Task

PhysicsPerformance Task

Performance Task

13.3 Wave Interaction: Superposition and Interference


Ocean waves repeatedly crash against beaches and coasts. Their energy can lead to erosion and collapse of land. Scientists and engineers need to study how waves interact with beaches in order to assess threats to coastal communities and construct breakwater systems.

In this task, you will construct a wave tank and fill it with water. Simulate a beach by placing sand at one end. Create waves by moving a piece of wood or plastic up and down in the water. Measure or estimate the wavelength, period, frequency, and amplitude of the wave, and observe the effect of the wave on the sand. Produce waves of different amplitudes and frequencies, and record your observations each time. Use mathematical representations to demonstrate the relationships between different wave properties. Change the position of the sand to create a steeper beach and record your observations. Give a qualitative analysis of the effects of the waves on the beach. What kind of wave causes the most damage? At what height, wavelength, and frequency do waves break? How does the steepness of the beach affect the waves?

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute Texas Education Agency (TEA). The original material is available at: . Changes were made to the original material, including updates to art, structure, and other content updates.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jan 19, 2024 Texas Education Agency (TEA). The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.