Skip Navigation

Ripple Tank


To illustrate wave phenomena with a ripple tank.


Ripple tank with accessories and overhead projector on cart.


Ripple tanks are inherently complex to use in classes. Several good film loops and movies are available which show ripple tank effects very well.

Setup Time

5 min




This is a large ripple tank which uses an overhead projector as its light source. It is kept on its own cart along with all accessories. Experiments which can be performed with this ripple tank include: Huygens's principle, plane waves and circular waves, single slit diffraction, double slit interference, interference between two sources, reflection and refraction of waves at a boundary, focusing by a concave reflector, focusing by lenses, and the Doppler effect. The overhead projector projects the image on the white screen behind the blackboards in the lecture halls or on projection screens p


Clarence A. Dyer, The Stroboscopic Ripple Tank as a teachi Aid, AJP 5, 208-210, (1937).