Reflection of Waves



The harsh transformations in the propagation of the wave's movement after seeking the phase of different two mediums can return. Reflected waves seem present after pursuing the changes in the direction, the surface of the bouncing back wave. The significance of the reflection wave is it does not demand any plane surface for the reflection. This tutorial is following the properties, significance, and different types of waves.

Figure 1: "Reflection of waves"

Reflection of waves

Reflection of waves refers to the sensation where a wave can bounce back on the surface before returning to the source of direction. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to comprehend that due to the bouncing back nature of waves (Aplustopper, 2022).

The reflective nature of the waves has two different mediums which are reliable, one is the object and another is the boundary of the mediums.

Properties of the reflection of waves

The reflection is possible to happen even on different types of rough surfaces such as walls, plywood, and others.

  • The specular reflection by motionless water is a great example of the reflection of waves.

The angle of reflection to the standard is identical to the angle of incidence to the benchmark (Bao et al. 2021). An alternation in the reflection intensity is due to the partial refraction which is happening on the surface of the boundary. The followings are the reflection of waves based on the surface and the movement of propagation:

Reflection of sound

The reflection of sound waves law expresses that the incidence angle is permanently similar to the reflection angle. For instance, sound waves can reflect by hitting on a wall and they can create echoes of sound. The same incident happen in-between places that are surrounded by mountains (Singh & Guha, 2021). The reverberation happens by blending all different waves of sounds.

Reflection of light

The reflection of the light wave has two characteristics; either it is diffusive or mirror-like depending on the surface of the reflective part. The light reflective waves can occur whenever the light travels from one to another medium with a special ratio. The ratio determines the medium's optical density in the reflection of light.

Figure 2: Reflection of sound waves

Various Types of Waves

Different factors are connected with the distinct types of waves, such as the direction, and propagation and sometimes, the types are depending on the law of motion, Hence, some of the wave types are the followings:

Electromagnetic waves

Waves that formed due to the uniform and periodic perpendicular fields of electricity and magnets, the waves react normally on the plane surfaces; however, they behave like transverse waves (Duan et al. 2020). These waves can travel in both sold and vacuum mediums. Light is an instance of electromagnetic waves in physics.

Longitudinal waves

Waves that reproduce in the same medium and in the same principle as the incident waves to alternate the contractions are known as the longitudinal waves. The primary characteristic of this wave is it can travel in different types of mediums such as liquids and solids as well.

Transverse waves

Waves that follow the perpendicular direction during propagation and the direction in managing the incident waves are the transverse waves. These waves can travel only through the solid mediums.

Fixed End Reflection

In a situation, where a string can get fixed with the walls and the right end and it allows to propagate via other strings to construct the vibration reach the right end can reflect again. The moment when the vibration arrives at the wall to construct the appeal of force, it follows the third law of Newton where the reaction is equal to the action. In general, the energy of the fixed end reflection gets transmitted to the end causing vibration (Embibe, 2022). The speed of the reflected pulse and the incident pulse are equal.

Free End Reflection

In a situation, when the right end of a string is tied to a ring, which is upfront and down without any disagreement on a rod, it is termed the free end in reflection. In this case, when the vibration arrives at the right end, the ring drags up the rod and as it shifts, it draws on the string, extending the string and delivering a skipped pulse with the exact sign and amplitude as the happening vibration. The incident and echoed vibrations reinforce each other, making the maximum removal at the end of the line.

Figure 3: "Free end Reflection of waves"


In this tutorial, the reflection of waves and different properties with their significance has been discussed. Moreover, the waves can be referred to as the different types and that can rely upon the features. Light and sound are redirected as the most common ways to understand the refraction of waves. In the reflection of the wave, the value of the phase difference is 180°. In the reflection of waves, the displacement can be maximised and the string needs to be attached to the end of the rope.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is a wave?

The propagation of disruption from one to another place which is followed in a regular and organised way is referred to as a wave.

Q2. How does the reflection works?

Specular and diffuse reflection are the two different types. Specular is the mirror-like reflection that can form from different surfaces such as metal, water, polished stone, glass, and others.

Q3. What are the objectives of reflections?

The objective of reflections is the process of information providing theory, which works on reflective mediums and causes the reflection of light on the protective layers.

Q4. How reflection of sound works?

Unlike the light waves, on the smooth surface, sound waves reflect as a part of the incident waves to get transferred to the medium where they get hit.



Bao, L., Ma, Q., Wu, R. Y., Fu, X., Wu, J., & Cui, T. J. (2021). Programmable Reflection–Transmission Shared‐Aperture Metasurface for Real‐Time Control of Electromagnetic Waves in Full Space. Advanced Science, 8(15), 2100149. Retrieved from:

Duan, H., Zhu, H., Gao, J., Yan, D. X., Dai, K., Yang, Y., ... & Li, Z. M. (2020). Asymmetric conductive polymer composite foam for absorption dominated ultra-efficient electromagnetic interference shielding with extremely low reflection characteristics. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(18), 9146-9159. Retrieved from:

Singh, A. K., & Guha, S. (2021). Reflection of plane waves from the surface of a piezothermoelastic fibre-reinforced composite half-space. Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures, 28(22), 2370-2382. Retrieved from:


Aplustopper, (2022), about analysing reflection of waves, retrieved from: [Retrieved on 9th June 2022]

Embibe, (2022), about reflection of waves, Retrieved from: [Retrieved on 9th June 2022]

Salfordacoustics, (2022), about sound waves, Retrieved from: [Retrieved on 9th June 2022]

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47