School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Wa-3 The Ripple Tank

Published: Tuesday 14 March 2006 - Updated: Wednesday 30 March 2011


To Demonstrate wave phenomena using a ripple tank.



Click on pictures to enlarge.

Ripple Tank Diagram

Single Slit Interference 1

Single Slit Interference 2

Two Source Interference


Pasco Ripple Tank

Pasco Ripple Tank (2)

Two Source Interference Pasco


Single Slit Interference

Double Slit Interference

Two Source Interference


The familiar ripple tank utilises ripples on a water surface to demonstrate the properties of waves. It consists of a shallow dish of water, with a transparent base. An electrically operated vibrator dips into the water surface and generates the ripples. Various objects may be placed in front of the source and single or double prongs may be attached to the dipper to simulate two source interference. There are three ripple tanks available; the Griffen, IEC and Pasco.

Safety notes

Electrical safety 


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