# Properties of Waves

Properties of Waves

## Types of Waves

• There are two main types of waves: transverse waves and longitudinal waves.
• Transverse waves move perpendicular to the direction of the wave, examples include ripples on the surface of water and electromagnetic waves.
• Longitudinal waves move parallel to the direction of the wave, examples include sound waves and waves in a slinky spring.

## Characteristics of Waves

• Waves carry energy from one place to another without the transfer of matter.
• Amplitude is the maximum displacement of a point on the wave from its rest position.
• Frequency is the number of complete wave cycles per second.
• Wavelength is the distance between two consecutive points in a wave that are in the same phase.
• The speed of a wave is the speed at which a wave point, such as a crest, travels.
• The period of a wave is the time it takes for one complete wave cycle.
• Phase is the position of a point in time on a waveform cycle.
• The relationship between speed (v), frequency (f) and wavelength (λ) is given by the equation v = f λ.

## Wave Interactions

• Waves can be reflected or bounced back in the direction they came from.
• Waves can be refracted, or bent when they pass from one medium to another.
• Waves can diffract, or spread out, when they pass through a gap or around an object which is comparable in size to the wavelength.
• Waves can interfere with each other, either constructively (resulting in a larger amplitude) or destructively (resulting in a smaller amplitude or cancellation).

## Electromagnetic Spectrum

• Electromagnetic waves are transverse waves that transfer energy from the source of the waves to an absorber.
• The electromagnetic spectrum consists of radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength.
• Different types of electromagnetic waves have different uses and dangers which are linked to their different frequencies and wavelengths.

By mastering these properties and principles of waves, you will gain a solid foundation in the basic concepts of wave theory and behaviour.