Wavenumber describes the spatial variation of waves, phase change per unit distance.

The relationship between ω and k is called the dispersion relationship; property describing the type of wave as well as the wave-supporting medium. Dispersion curves are used in understanding the interaction between waves in coupled media, amonst other things. When dispersion curves of two different media interact, they have common frequency and wavenumber and therefore equal wavelength and phase. This is known as coincidence frequency.

See also: Angular Frequency, Wavelength.

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Subjects: Noise & Vibration Physics