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## What are transverse waves?

When the surface of this lake is disturbed, waves spread out across the surface of the water.

## Water waves are an example of transverse waves.

In a transverse wave, the particles move up and down, so the direction of their movement is at right angles to the direction of the wave. Think about this boat bobbing up and down in the same place as the water waves pass by!
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## What do transverse waves look like?

A Slinky can be used to model transverse waves, by moving one end of the Slinky up and down. source moves up and down coils vibrate up and down

direction of wave The wave travels away from the source. The direction of the wave is at right angles to the movement of the source. In a transverse wave, the coils do not travel horizontally, each coil of the Slinky just vibrates up and down.
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## What are the parts of a transverse wave?

Certain parts of a transverse wave have special names.

The high points of a transverse wave are called peaks and the low points of a transverse wave are called troughs.

peak

trough
Water waves and electromagnetic waves, such as light, are examples of transverse waves. S waves, the secondary waves produced by earthquakes are transverse waves, which shake the Earth from side to side.
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## Wavelength of a transverse wave

The wavelength of any wave is the distance between two matching points on neighbouring waves. wavelength

wavelength

wavelength
The wavelength is the same whichever two matching points are used to measure this distance. The symbol used to represent wavelength is .
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## Amplitude of a transverse wave

The amplitude of any wave is the maximum distance a point moves from its rest position. amplitude

amplitude The amplitude of a transverse wave is the height of a peak or trough from the waves rest position of the wave. The larger the amplitude, greater the energy of the wave.
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## Frequency of transverse waves

The frequency is the number of waves passing any point each second. frequency = number of waves past a point / time frequency is measured in hertz (Hz) 1 wave per second = 1 Hz

If this set of transverse waves pass a point in one second, what is the frequency? 4 Hz

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## What are longitudinal waves?

PAT ARTWORK PC14_2
Sound travels as waves made up of vibrating air particles. Sound waves are an example of longitudinal waves. In a longitudinal wave, the particles vibrate back and forth, so the direction of their movement is parallel to the direction of the wave.

Think about the hairs on this fluffy cat vibrating backwards and forwards, as sound waves from the speaker pass by!
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## What do longitudinal waves look like?

A Slinky can be used to model longitudinal waves, by moving one end of the Slinky left and right. source moves left and right coils vibrate left and right

direction of wave The wave travels away from the source. The direction of the wave is parallel to the movement of the source. In a longitudinal wave, the coils do not travel horizontally, each coil of the Slinky just vibrates left and right.
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## What are the parts of a longitudinal wave?

Certain parts of a longitudinal wave have special names. Sections that are pushed together are called compressions and that are stretched out are called rarefactions. compression

rarefaction Sound waves are longitudinal waves. When someone speaks, the air particles vibrate as a longitudinal wave and so compressions and rarefactions are formed in the air. P waves, the primary waves produced by earthquakes, are also longitudinal waves, which push and pull the Earth.
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## Wavelength of a longitudinal wave

The wavelength of any wave is the distance between two matching points on neighbouring waves. wavelength

wavelength The wavelength is the same whichever two matching points are used to measure this distance. The symbol used to represent wavelength is .
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## How is wave speed calculated?

These waves are travelling across the surface of a pond. The length of each wave is 0.25 m. Two waves pass the duck each second, so the frequency is 2 Hz. This means that the waves travel 0.5 m each second, so the speed of the waves is 0.5 m/s. From this example, the connection between speed, frequency and wavelength is:

## speed = frequency x wavelength 0.5 m/s =

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2 Hz

0.25 m
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## What is the formula for wave speed?

For any set of waves, the wave speed (v) can be calculated from the frequency (f) and wavelength () using this formula:

## wave speed = frequency x wavelength v = f x

What are the units of speed, frequency and wavelength? Wave speed is measured in metres per second (m/s).

## Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz).

Wavelength is measured in metres (m).
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## Can I use a formula triangle?

A formula triangle helps you to rearrange a formula. The formula triangle for wave speed (v), frequency (f) and wavelength () is shown below. Cover the quantity that you are trying to work out, which gives the rearranged formula needed for the calculation. So to find frequency (f), cover up f which gives the formula

f =

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## Calculating wave speed example

These waves are rippling across a pond. The frequency of the waves is 0.2 Hz and the length of each wave is estimated at 0.15 m. What is the wave speed?

= 0.03 m/s

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Glossary

## amplitude The maximum distance any point in a wave

moves from its rest position. compression A stretched-out section of a longitudinal wave. frequency The number of waves passing a point each second. It is measured in hertz (Hz). longitudinal wave A type of wave in which the particles vibrate back and forth, which is parallel to the wave direction, e.g. sound and P waves. rarefaction A bunched-up section of a longitudinal wave. transverse wave A type of wave in which the particles vibrate up and down, which is at right angles to the wave direction, e.g. electromagnetic, water and S waves. wavelength The distance between two matching points on neighbouring waves.
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## Boardworks Ltd 2006

Multiple-choice quiz

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