Physics - Waves

  • Created by: Dan_23
  • Created on: 19-05-21 20:01

Types of waves

Waves are one of the ways in which energy may be transferred between stores. Waves can be described as oscillations, or vibrations about a rest position. For example:

  • sound waves cause air particles to vibrate back and forth
  • ripples cause water particles to vibrate up and down

The direction of these oscillations is the difference between longitudinal or transverse waves. In longitudinal waves, the vibrations are parallel to the direction of wave travel. In transverse waves, the vibrations are at right angles to the direction of wave travel.

Mechanical waves cause oscillations of particles in a solid, liquid or gas and must have a medium to travel through. Electromagnetic waves cause oscillations in electrical and magnetic fields.

All waves transfer energy but they do not transfer matter.

Parts of a wave

Waves are described using the following terms:

  • rest position -


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