Physics: Section C, Waves

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  • Created by: marita
  • Created on: 26-12-13 23:09

Types of Waves

Waves: They transfer energy without transfering matter. They don't need to travel through a medium

Transverse Waves: They vibrate across the direction to which they are moving.

Examples; light, microwaves, x-rays

Longitutinal: Waves: They vibrate along the direction to which they are moving

Examples; sound waves

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Definitions & Equations

Period (T) : One complete cycle of one wave; units 'second' ,'s'

Freequency (f) : Number of cycles of a wave that occur in 1 second; units 'Hertz', Hz'

                                                      freequency=number of waves

                                                                            time taken

                                                        T= 1               F= 1

                                                           F                    T

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Wave Speed

Wave Speed :                                  


v= wave speed (m/s)

λ= wavelength (m)

f= freequency (Hz)

*wavelentgh= distance between 1 wave

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Electromagnetic Spectrum Characteristics

  • Transverse
  • Travel in a vacuum
  • Travel very fast: 3x 10^8 m/s
  • Vibrations are electric and magnetic fileds

*the very first ones have low freequencies and large wavelengths

*the very last ones have high freequencies and small wavelegths 

radio waves,   micro waves,  infra-red,  light,  ultra violet,  X-ray,  gamma


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Uses of Waves

Radio waves:                                                           X- rays:

  •     long, medium, short-wave radio/TV (UHF)            *X-radiography observes internal                                                                                      structure of objectse.g.human bones

Microwaves:                                                               Gamma rays:

  • mobile phones, satellites, cooking                         *sterilisation of food and equipment,

Infra-red:                                                                     radiotherapy

  • night vision, cooking, remote controls


  • seing, communication (optical fibres), photographs

Ultraviolet (UV):

  • UV luorescent tubes, UV tanning lamps
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Effects of Waves


  • excessive use can heat internal tissues


  • skinburns


  • skin cancer, blindness, sunburn, blistering


  • overexpsure can cause cancer

Gamma rays:

  • gene mutation >cancer   *highly penetrating
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Digital & Analogue Signals

Analogue Signals:  informatiom > electrical voltages/currents that vary > amplified wave

+ fine definition

- when amplified acompanying noise is amplified as well

- it takes a wider range of freequencies to broadcast an analogue signal

Digital Signals: information > binary code ( 0 & 1) > series of electrical pulses

+ regeneration creates a clean accurate copy of the original signal

+ easier to design and build

+ data that are easier to process

+ more programmes can be broadcast over the same freequencies

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Light Waves-Reflection

                             angle of incidence (i) = angle of reflection


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Images in plain mirror

rays from objects in the room > reflected to the mirrror > reflected in your eyes > virtual images

Properties:                                          *virtual image: rays of light don't actually pass through

  • Image is as far as is the object behind   *real image: rays of light pass through them                       
  • Image has the same size as he object
  • Image is laterally inverted
  • Image is virtual                                       


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