Standing Wave Within a Medium
Date: Summer 2013
I understand that a standing wave can be created between two boundaries in a medium.
What I have often wondered is, is there any possible way in which a standing wave (say in a fixed solid) could be established without boundaries in the medium? I guess you would have to assume an infinitely 3-dimensional solid for that. So, by some combination of some number of waves, traveling in different directions relative to each other in just the right way, could a standing, or self-perpetuating resonating wave be established somehow within the medium?
I am not sure if this helps your question, but Jupiter's weather motions and radio emission due to a cyclotron maser effect may at least shed some light. We have an apparent standing wave(s) composed of gas in Jupiter.
There are storms that appear to be very long lasting. The Great Red Spot is a rotating storm that was discovered in 1664 by Robert Hooke. Some of the bands appear to be moving in opposite directions. When Shoemaker-Levi struck the planet, the comet pieces were absorbed with little observed effect on the motion of the bands.
These phenomena are very curious and the subject of much speculation.
Peter E. Hughes, Ph.D. Milford, NH
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: November 2011