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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the basic characteristics of wave motion
  • Define the terms wavelength, amplitude, period, frequency, and wave speed
  • Explain the difference between longitudinal and transverse waves, and give examples of each type
  • List the different types of waves

We saw in Oscillations that oscillatory motion is an important type of behavior that can be used to model a wide range of physical phenomena. Oscillatory motion is also important because oscillations can generate waves, which are of fundamental importance in physics. Many of the terms and equations we studied in the chapter on oscillations apply equally well to wave motion ( [link] ).

Photograph of an ocean wave.
An ocean wave is probably the first picture that comes to mind when you hear the word “wave.” Although this breaking wave, and ocean waves in general, have apparent similarities to the basic wave characteristics we will discuss, the mechanisms driving ocean waves are highly complex and beyond the scope of this chapter. It may seem natural, and even advantageous, to apply the concepts in this chapter to ocean waves, but ocean waves are nonlinear, and the simple models presented in this chapter do not fully explain them. (credit: Steve Jurvetson)

Types of waves

A wave    is a disturbance that propagates, or moves from the place it was created. There are three basic types of waves: mechanical waves, electromagnetic waves, and matter waves.

Basic mechanical wave     s are governed by Newton’s laws and require a medium. A medium is the substance a mechanical waves propagates through, and the medium produces an elastic restoring force when it is deformed. Mechanical waves transfer energy and momentum, without transferring mass. Some examples of mechanical waves are water waves, sound waves, and seismic waves. The medium for water waves is water; for sound waves, the medium is usually air. (Sound waves can travel in other media as well; we will look at that in more detail in Sound .) For surface water waves, the disturbance occurs on the surface of the water, perhaps created by a rock thrown into a pond or by a swimmer splashing the surface repeatedly. For sound waves, the disturbance is a change in air pressure, perhaps created by the oscillating cone inside a speaker or a vibrating tuning fork. In both cases, the disturbance is the oscillation of the molecules of the fluid. In mechanical waves, energy and momentum transfer with the motion of the wave, whereas the mass oscillates around an equilibrium point. (We discuss this in Energy and Power of a Wave .) Earthquakes generate seismic waves from several types of disturbances, including the disturbance of Earth’s surface and pressure disturbances under the surface. Seismic waves travel through the solids and liquids that form Earth. In this chapter, we focus on mechanical waves.

Electromagnetic waves are associated with oscillations in electric and magnetic fields and do not require a medium. Examples include gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet waves, visible light, infrared waves, microwaves, and radio waves. Electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum at the speed of light, v = c = 2.99792458 × 10 8 m/s . For example, light from distant stars travels through the vacuum of space and reaches Earth. Electromagnetic waves have some characteristics that are similar to mechanical waves; they are covered in more detail in Electromagnetic Waves .

Questions & Answers

when I click on the links in the topics noting shows. what should I do.
Emmanuel Reply
can we regard torque as a force?
Emmanuel Reply
Torque is only referred a force to rotate objects.
SHREESH
thanks
Emmanuel
I need lessons on Simple harmonic motion
Emmanuel
what is the formulae for elastic modulus
Ark Reply
Given two vectors, vector C which is 3 units, and vector D which is 5 units. If the two vectors form an angle of 45o, determine C D and direction.
AFLAX Reply
At time to = 0 the current to the DC motor is reverse, resulting in angular displacement of the motor shafts given by angle = (198rad/s)t - (24rad/s^2)t^2 - (2rad/s^3)t^3 At what time is the angular velocity of the motor shaft zero
Princston Reply
3s
Basit
what is angular velocity
Sadiku
In three experiments, three different horizontal forces are ap- plied to the same block lying on the same countertop. The force magnitudes are F1 " 12 N, F2 " 8 N, and F3 " 4 N. In each experi- ment, the block remains stationary in spite of the applied force. Rank the forces according to (a) the
Sadiku
Given two vectors, vector C which is 3 units, and vector D which is 5 units. If the two vectors form an angle of 45o, determine C D and direction.
AFLAX
ty
Sharath
CD=5.83 n direction is NE
Ark
state Hooke's law of elasticity
Aarti Reply
Hooke's law states that the extension produced is directly proportional to the applied force provided that the elastic limit is not exceeded. F=ke;
Shaibu
thanks
Aarti
You are welcome
Shaibu
thnx
Junaid
what is drag force
Junaid
A backward acting force that tends to resist thrust
Ian
solve:A person who weighs 720N in air is lowered in to tank of water to about chin level .He sits in a harness of negligible mass suspended from a scale that reads his apparent weight .He then dumps himself under water submerging his body .If his weight while submerged is 34.3N. find his density
Ian Reply
please help me solve this 👆👆👆
Ian
The weight inside the tank is lesser due to the buoyancy force by the water displaced. Weight of water displaced = His weight outside - his weight inside tank = 720 - 34.3 = 685.7N Now, the density of water = 997kg/m³ (this is a known value) Volume of water displaced = Mass/Density (next com)
Sharath
density or relative density
Shaibu
density
Ian
Upthrust =720-34.3=685.7N mass of water displayed = 685.7/g vol of water displayed = 685.7/g/997 hence, density of man = 720/g / (685.7/g/997) =1046.6 kg/m3
1046.8
R.d=weight in air/upthrust in water =720/34.3=20.99 R.d=density of substance/density of water 20.99=x/1 x=20.99g/cm^3
Shaibu
Kg /cubic meters
how please
Shaibu
Upthrust = 720-34.3=685.7N vol of water = 685.7/g/density of water = 685.7/g/997 so density of man = 720/g /(685.7/g/997) =1046.8 kg/m3
is there anyway i can see your calculations
Ian
Upthrust =720-34.3=685.7
Upthrust 720-34.3
=685.7N
Vol of water = 685.7/g/997
Hence density of man = 720/g / (685.7/g/997)
=1046.8 kg/m3
so the density of water is 997
Shaibu
Yes
Okay, thanks
Shaibu
try finding the volume then
Ian
Vol of man = vol of water displayed
I've done that; I got 0.0687m^3
Shaibu
okay i got it thanks
Ian
u welcome
Shaibu
HELLO kindly assist me on this...(MATHS) show that the function f(x)=[0 for xor=0]is continuous from the right of x->0 but not from the left of x->0
Duncan Reply
I do not get the question can you make it clearer
Ark
Same here, the function looks very ambiguous. please restate the question properly.
Sharath
please help me solve this problem.a hiker begins a trip by first walking 25kmSE from her car.she stops and sets her tent for the night . on the second day, she walks 40km in a direction 60°NorthofEast,at which she discovers a forest ranger's tower.find components of hiker's displacement for each day
Liteboho Reply
Take a paper. put a point (name is A), now draw a line in the South east direction from A. Assume the line is 25 km long. that is the first stop (name the second point B) From B, turn 60 degrees to the north of East and draw another line, name that C. that line is 40 km long. (contd.)
Sharath
Now, you know how to calculate displacements, I hope? the displacement between two points is the shortest distance between the two points. go ahead and do the calculations necessary. Good luck!
Sharath
thank you so much Sharath Kumar
Liteboho
thank you, have also learned alot
Duncan
No issues at all. I love the subject and teaching it is fun. Cheers!
Sharath
cheers!
Liteboho
cheers too
Duncan
hii
Lakshya
hii too
Siciid
haye
Siciid
yes
Siciid
yes
Lakshya
shggggg
Lakshya
you mean
Siciid
solution problems
Siciid
what is the definition of model
matthew Reply
please is there any way that i can understand physics very well i know am not support to ask this kind of question....
matthew
yes
Duncan
prove using vector algebra that the diagonals of a rhombus perpendicular to each other.
Baijnath Reply
A projectile is thrown with a speed of v at an angle of theta has a range of R on the surface of the earth. For same v and theta,it's range on the surface of moon will be
Roshani Reply
0
Keshav
what is soln..
Keshav
o
Duncan
Using some kinematics, time taken for the projectile to reach ground is (2*v*g*Sin (∆)) (here, g is gravity on Earth and ∆ is theta) therefore, on Earth, R = 2*v²*g*Sin(∆)*Cos(∆) on moon, the only difference is the gravity. Gravity on moon = 0.166*g substituting that value in R, we get the new R
Sharath
Some corrections to my old post. Time taken to reach ground = 2*v*Sin (∆)/g R = (2*v²*Sin(∆)*Cos(∆))/g I put the g in the numerator by mistake in my old post. apologies for that. R on moon = (R on Earth)/(0.166)
Sharath
state Newton's first law of motion
Awal Reply
Every body will continue in it's state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by an external force.
Kumaga
if you want this to become intuitive to you then you should state it
Shii
changing the state of rest or uniform motion of a body
koffi
if a body is in rest or motion it is always rest or motion, upto external force appied on it. it explains inertia
Omsai
what is a vector
smith
a ship move due north at 100kmhr----1 on a River flowing be due east on at 25kmperhr. cal the magnitude of the resultant velocity of the ship.
Emmanuel Reply
The result is a simple vector addition. The angle between the vectors is 90 degrees, so we can use Pythagoras theorem to get the result. V magnitude = sqrt(100*100 + 25*25) = 103.077 km/hr. the direction of the resultant vector can be found using trigonometry. Tan (theta) = 25/100.
Kumar
103.077640640442km/h
Peter
state Newton's first law of motion
Kansiime Reply
An object continues to be in its state of rest or motion unless compelled by some external force
Alem
First law (law of inertia)- If a body is at rest, it would remain at rest and if the body is in the motion, it would be moving with the same velocity until or unless no external force is applied on it. If force F^=0 acceleration a^=0 or v^=0 or constant.
Govindsingh
Practice Key Terms 7

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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