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Difference between plane wave and spherical wave with examples


Plane waves

In a plane wave disturbances travel in the single direction.

Plane waves examples

  • For example when a string is fixed at both ends and the string is plucked at one end, then transverse waves are generated in the string in which particles of the medium vibrate in one direction. So the transverse waves are plane waves.It is not possible in practice to have a true plane wave.
  • A finite part of large spherical wave coming from the sun is considered a plane wave.

Spherical waves

A wave in which the disturbance a propagated outward in all directions from the source of wave is called a spherical wave.

Spherical waves examples

  • The light waves are the example of spherical waves.
  • The light waves produced by a single light source, are spherical waves. During the propagation of light waves, the spherical wavefronts spread out in all directions.

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