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Diffraction

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This is a boundary behaviour of waves. Diffraction is the process by which waves are spread out as a result of passing through a gap or an obstacle. The amount of diffraction increases with increasing wavelength, λ, and decreases with decreasing wavelength, λ. When the wavelength, λ, is much smaller than the size of the gap (or obstacle) the waves pass through, the diffraction is so minimal that it is hardly noticeable. The wavelength, λ, of a wave does not change after undergoing diffraction.

An application of diffraction in nature:

Type of sound
λ
Result
owl hoots long the hoots (sound) can travel further as they are able to diffract better around the trees of the forests
lark / songbirds short(er) the tweets (sound) travel across shorter distances as the sounds with shorter wavelengths are diffracted less


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