Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

  • A wave transfers energy from one place to another without transferring matter.

Transverse Waves:

  • These waves have crests and troughs. The crests are the highest points of the wave, while the troughs are the lowest points.
  • Vibrations in transverse waves are at right angles (perpendicular) to the direction in which the wave travels.
  • Light and other electromagnetic waves, waves on water, and waves on a stretched string, all displayed transverse behaviour.

Longitudinal Waves:

  • These waves have compressions and rarefactions. The areas where the particles are close together are called compressions, and where they’re farthest apart are called rarefactions.
  • In longitudinal waves, the vibrations are parallel to the direction of wave propagation.
  • Sound waves in the air and other gases and liquids, as well as waves in a slinky or coil spring, are examples of longitudinal waves.

General Properties of Waves:

  • Both transverse and longitudinal waves have measurable properties, including amplitude, wavelength, frequency, and speed.
  • The amplitude of a wave is its maximum displacement from its undisturbed position. In a diagram, this is typically interpreted as the height from the middle of the wave to the crest or the depth from the middle to the trough.
  • The wavelength of a wave describes the distance between two equivalent points on a wave, often measured from crest to crest or trough to trough.
  • The frequency of a wave is the number of waves passing a point in a certain amount of time, typically in seconds. It is measured in Hertz (Hz).
  • The speed of a wave is calculated by multiplying its wavelength by its frequency. It explains how fast the energy is transferred by the wave.