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Longitudinal and Transverse waves.
LONGITUDINAL

Waves in which the direction of vibration of the particles is parallel to the direction in which the wave
travels. You get a series of compressions and
rarefactions. E.g. sound waves, primary
seismic waves. Describing Waves with
Graphs

To study the motion of the vibrating…

Page 2

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Fig c. Time series of Displacement-Distance graphs of a wave.



Using a series of displacement-distance graphs at various times us can see the
motion of the wave (Figure c.)
By comparing the changes in these graphs, we can deduce the travelling speed and
direction of the wave, as well as…

Page 3

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Transverse Wave: Displacement-Distance Graph




Key Terms:
Displacement: distance and direction from the equilibrium point
Amplitude: maximum displacement from equilibrium
Wavelength: distance between 2 adjacent particles which have the same phase
Frequency: number of oscillations per second by the source / number of waves passing a
point per second. Unit =…

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Note: The symbol (c) is used as a general symbol for the speed of waves. In the data booklet, (c) refers to the speed of
electromagnetic waves in free space (speed of light).



Phase Difference:
PHASE DIFFERENCE between two vibrating particles is the fraction of a cycle between
the vibrations…

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A displacement-distance graph is also called a displacement-position graph. It shows
the displacement of the particles at various positions at a certain time.
Although it looks like a photograph of a transverse wave, it can be used to describe
BOTH a transverse and a longitudinal wave (Figures a. and b.)…

Page 6

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Plane of Polarisation: The plane in which the medium oscillates and the energy is
propagated. (For Electromagnetic waves it is defined as the plane in which the electric
field oscillates)

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