1.2 Short Notes: Ripple Tank

Ripple tank set-up apparatus

  • The ripple tank is used to study water waves in laboratories.
  • The parts used in ripple tank are:
    • Power supplyGenerate electricity to the motor.
    • MotorMoves the dipper in and out of water.
    • Dipper – An object used to create water waves in the tank. It can be any shape, length and width.
    • TankWater is poured inside here.
  • To study the water waves, a white screen (i.e. a piece of paper) is placed under the tank. A light source is placed above the ripple tank to illuminate the water waves.
  • The waves can be altered by changing the dipper.

  • Figure 1.10 shows how we can see the waves on the screen. The crest acts as convex lens while the trough act as concave lens. Therefore, the bright spot on the screen is the crest because the light rays converges while the dark spot is the trough because the light rays diverges.


  1. What is the use of ripple tank?
  2. How to determine the crest and trough of the water wave?


  1. Studying water waves.
  2. Bright spot on the screen is the crest while the dark spot on the screen is the trough.

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