De Facio, Brian Formerly, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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A variation in the intensity of a composite wave which is formed from two distinct waves with different frequencies. Beats were first observed in sound waves, such as those produced by two tuning forks with different frequencies. Beats also can be produced by other waves. They can occur in the motion of two pendulums of different lengths and have been observed among the different-frequency phonons in a crystal lattice. See also: Crystal structure; Pendulum
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