BTEC physics Brief 3

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Syed Afjal Ali 11T Science (BTEC) 28/04/12
What is a wave?
Transverse wave:
A transverse wave consists of the trough which is the lowest point of the wave beneath the line of
origin. There is also the crest which is the highest point of the wave above the line of origin. The
wavelength of the transverse wave is the distance between two neighbouring troughs. For
transverse waves the displacement of the medium is perpendicular to the direction of spread of the
wave. This means that the waves will never come back to the middle and would go out in circles from
the centre, equally spreading out. A clear example of this could be ripples from a river.
Longitudinal wave:
In longitudinal waves the displacement of the medium is parallel to the circulation of the wave. A
wave in a "slinky" is a good visual as it portrays the steady continuous movement of the "slinky" coils
which resemble waves. An example of longitudinal waves is sound waves in the air.

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Syed Afjal Ali 11T Science (BTEC) 28/04/12
Sound as a longitudinal wave:
Sound waves are produced due to the vibrating of an object through the atoms which also causes the
air surrounding the object to vibrate. The wave lengths refract and compress which is the forming of
the vibration.
The basic properties of a sound wave include the wavelength
which is the distance between any point on a sound wave and also the equivalent point on the next
phase.…read more

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Syed Afjal Ali 11T Science (BTEC) 28/04/12
The frequency is another property of the sound wave and this
is the number of times the wavelength occurs in one second. This is usually measured in kilohertz
(KHz). The frequency can be seen as the faster the sound source vibrates, the higher the frequency.
Longitudinal waves need a medium in the form of products such as air particles, solids and liquids etc.…read more

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Syed Afjal Ali 11T Science (BTEC) 28/04/12
Light as transverse waves:
Light is a transverse wave purely because
all electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, is transverse waves. In transverse the waves are
seen to be vibrating at right angles to the direction of travel.…read more

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Syed Afjal Ali 11T Science (BTEC) 28/04/12
Describe the electromagnetic spectrum:
The electromagnetic
spectrum is the range of all possible electromagnetic radiation, such as radio, microwave, infrared,
light, x-rays and gamma rays. The differences between the rays are determined through the length
and style of the waves. A few examples of these differences are that radio waves have very large
wavelengths in kilometers; microwaves have shorter wavelengths in centimeters; and ordinary light
has wavelengths of nanometers.…read more


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