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WAVES

Wave types & characteristics


Tuning forks
Seismic Waves

Wave Types
Waves are a means
by which energy is
transferred from one
point to another.
In a transverse wave, the
medium vibrates in a direction
at right angles to the direction
the wave travels.(up and down)
In a longitudinal or
compression wave, the medium
vibrates parallel to the direction
the wave travels.(back and
forth)

A transverse wave is a wave in which


the particles of the medium are
displaced in a direction perpendicular
to the direction of energy transport.

Transverse Wave Examples


Transverse waves: vibrate at right angles to the
direction of travel--up and down motion.
(visible light, Infra Red light, Ultra Violet light, gamma

rays, x-rays, AM-FM radio, microwave, etc.


Wave in ballgame: someone in the stands may start
up a "wave" by standing up and then sitting down.
The people on one side then stand up and sit down,
then the next people, and so one. Everyone is still in
their seats, but the wave traveled through the ballpark
from one end to the other.
Rope or string: You can shake a rope, causing a
wave motion. The parts of the rope only move upand-down, but the wave moves from one end of the
rope to the other. A guitar string also has this type of
motion.

The crest of a wave is the point on the medium


which exhibits the maximum amount of
positive or upwards displacement from the
rest position. (or the top of the wave)

Trough

The Trough of a wave is the point on


the medium which exhibits the
maximum amount of Negative or
downward displacement from the rest
position. (or the bottom of the wave)

A longitudinal wave is a wave in


which the particles of the medium are
displaced in a direction parallel to the
direction of energy transport.

Longitudinal Wave Examples


Compression waves or Longitudinal waves: Backand-forth motion creates compression or longitudinal
waves (while longitudinal waves vibrate in the same
direction as they travel). Longitudinal waves need a
medium in which to travel. They cannot exist without
one. Sound can not travel in a vacuum.
Slinky You can stretch out a Slinky along the floor and
give one end a back-and-forth shove. The compression
will move along the Slinky to its other end.
Sound waves A loudspeaker cone moves back-and-forth
to create a sound, which is a compression wave.
AC electricity Electrons move back-and-forth in a wire,
sending a wave of electric power through the wire. The
electrons stay in their general region in AC electricity,
while they flow throughout the wire in DC electricity.

Amplitude is the height of a wave from the


resting position. . As the energy of a wave increases,
amplitude increases.
The frequency represents the number of waves that
pass by a point every second. As the energy of a wave
increases; frequency increases.
Wavelength is the distance between two
corresponding points on a wave. As the energy of a
wave increases, wavelength decreases.

The amplitude of a wave refers to the


maximum amount of displacement of a a
particle on the medium from its rest
position. The amount of energy carried by
a wave is related to the amplitude of the
wave.

A compression is a point on a
medium through which a
longitudinal wave is traveling
which has the maximum density.
(Where the coils are closest
together)

A region where the coils are


spread apart, thus maximizing the
distance between coils, is known
as a rarefaction. A rarefaction is a
point on a medium through which
a longitudinal wave is traveling
which has the minimum density.
(where the coils are farthest apart)

Characteristics of Waves:
a. Frequency the number of complete waves
passing a point in space per second; depends
on the source
b. Wavelength the distance from a point in a
wave to the next point that wave in the same
phase, often symbolized with (lambda)
(either crest to crest or trough to trough)

The Wave Equation


The speed of a wave is given by the
equation

v f

v is the speed of the wave measured in m/s,


f is the frequency of the wave measured in Hz

is the wavelength of the wave measured in m.