A wave tank is a laboratory setup for observing the behavior of surface waves. The typical wave tank is a box filled with liquid, usually water, leaving open or air-filled space on top. At one end of the tank an actuator generates waves; the other end usually has a wave-absorbing surface. A similar device is the ripple tank, which is flat and shallow and used for observing patterns of surface waves from above.
A wave basin is a wave tank which has a width and length of comparable magnitude, often used for testing ships, offshore structures and three-dimensional models of harbors (and their breakwaters).
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