Superposition

The general idea that, when a number of influences are acting on a system, the total influence on that system is merely the sum of the individual influences; that is, influences governed by the superposition principle add linearly. Some specific examples are:

Superposition Principle of Forces
The net force on a body is equal to the sum of the forces impressed upon it.

Superposition Principle of States
The resultant quantum mechnical wavefunction due to two or more individual wavefunctions is the sum of the individual wavefunctions.

Superposition Principle of Waves
The combining of two or more waves at a location in space. The resultant at any point is the algebraic sum of the amplitudes at that point, equal to the sum of the amplitude of each wave in isolation at that point.

See also: Wave.

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Acoustics and Vibrations Animations A collection of animations produced by Daniel A. Russell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Applied Physics at Kettering University.