Longitudinal and Transverse Wave Motion
The simplest types of wave motion are vibrations of elastic media, such as air, In the simplest waves, the disturbance oscillates periodically with a fixed. Acoustics and Vibration Animations There are two basic types of wave motion for mechanical waves: longitudinal waves and transverse waves. The particles do not move down the tube with the wave; they simply oscillate back and forth. Longitudinal waves are always characterized by particle motion being For a sound wave, it is usually the vibration of the vocal chords or a guitar string to explore the distinction between longitudinal and transverse waves, the wavelength-frequency-period relationship, sound waves as pressure waves, and much more.
One important class— electromagnetic waves —represents oscillations of the electromagnetic field. These include infrared radiationvisible light, radio and television, microwave, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.
- Acoustics and Vibration Animations
- Categories of Waves
- Wave motion
Electromagnetic waves are produced by moving electric charges and varying currents, and they can travel through a vacuum. Unlike sound waves, they are not, therefore, disturbances in any medium. Another difference between electromagnetic and sound waves is that the former are transverse, that is, the disturbance occurs in a direction perpendicular to that in which the wave is propagating. Sound waves are longitudinal: The propagation of a wave through a medium will depend on the properties of the medium.
For example, waves of different frequencies may travel at different speeds, an effect known as dispersion. In the case of light, dispersion leads to the unscrambling of colours and is the mechanism whereby a prism of glass can produce a spectrum. Two important characteristics of all waves are the phenomena of diffraction and interference.
Categories of Waves
When a wave disturbance is directed toward a small aperture in a screen or other obstacle, it emerges traveling in a range of directions. The P waves travel with the fastest velocity and are the first to arrive. To see a animations of spherical longitudinal waves check out: Radiation from Cylindrical Sources Transverse Waves In a transverse wave the particle displacement is perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation.
The animation below shows a one-dimensional transverse plane wave propagating from left to right. The particles do not move along with the wave; they simply oscillate up and down about their individual equilibrium positions as the wave passes by. The S waves Secondary waves in an earthquake are examples of Transverse waves. S waves propagate with a velocity slower than P waves, arriving several seconds later. Water Waves updated Water waves are an example of waves that involve a combination of both longitudinal and transverse motions.
As a wave travels through the waver, the particles travel in clockwise circles. The radius of the circles decreases as the depth into the water increases. The animation at right shows a water wave travelling from left to right in a region where the depth of the water is greater than the wavelength of the waves. I have identified two particles in orange to show that each particle indeed travels in a clockwise circle as the wave passes.
Listeners were able to hear the news transported by sound waves created by their radios.
Waves and Wave Motion: Describing Waves
Waves of one form or another can be found in an amazingly diverse range of physical applications, from the oceans to the science of sound. Put simply, a wave is a traveling disturbance.
Ocean waves travel for thousands of kilometers through the water. Earthquake waves travel through the Earth, sometimes bouncing off the core of the Earth and making it all the way back to the surface.
Sound waves travel through the air to our ears, where we process the disturbances and interpret them. Ancient wave theories Much of our current understanding of wave motion has come from the study of acoustics. Ancient Greek philosophers, many of whom were interested in music, hypothesized that there was a connection between waves and sound, and that vibrations, or disturbances, must be responsible for sounds.
Pythagoras observed in BCE that vibrating strings produced sound, and worked to determine the mathematical relationships between the lengths of strings that made harmonious tones.