Diffraction and Interference of Water Waves


Photos of water waves at an Eastbourne beach showing diffraction and interference effects.

See full size images here.

Single Slit Diffraction
Single Slit Diffraction
Interference Pattern
Interference Pattern

Interference Pattern
Interference Pattern
Wave behaviour
Wave behaviour



Principles Illustrated

The properties of waves are universal: diffraction and interference effects seen with light in the laboratory are also visible in water waves with “slits” that are much larger.

NCEA & Science Curriculum

PHYS 2.3


These photos can be used in conjunction with live demonstrations of wave properties.


Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.

Related Resources

Wave tank

Teaching Resources

Would you like to contribute lesson suggestions? Contact us.


PIRA 3B50.10, PIRA 3B50.20


These photos were taken by Winton Clitheroe when he taught at Hutt Valley High School near Wellington New Zealand.

This teaching resource was developed with support from

The MacDiarmid Institute
Faculty of Science, Victoria University of Wellington
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


Copyright and fair use statement