In physics, a surface wave is a wave that is guided along the interface between two different media for a mechanical wave, or by a refractive index gradient for an electromagnetic wave. An example is the waves at the surface of water, ocean surface waves.
1. A gravity wave formed on the free surface of a fluid. In classical hydrodynamics, to distinguish surface waves from tidal waves, the condition is imposed that vertical accelerations are not negligible. Dynamically, this wave is similar to that on an interface separating two fluids, becoming identical in the case of zero density in the upper fluid. 2. See ground wave. 3. A wave at the interface of a light and a much heavier fluid, in particular of the airâ€“sea interface. See surface gravity wave.
In physics, a surface wave can refer to a mechanical wave that propagates along the interface between differing media, usually two fluids with different densities. A surface wave can also be an electromagnetic wave guided by a refractive index gradient. In radio transmission, a ground wave is a surface wave that propagates close to the surface of the Earth.