The study of waves in physics is extremely critical because it is a means to understand how energy is transported and distributed in the universe. Waves exist all around and there are many types such as that of water, sound, and light.
They are defined by a continuous movement that transports energy from one location to the next.
The movement of energy is defined by the term Oscillation, which means regular movement from up and down or right to left. As the wave transports energy through oscillation, each of these movements are known as a Pulse.
When learning about waves, it is important to note that there are two main types of waves: Mechanical and Electromagnetic.
Mechanical waves travel through vibrations or oscillations that are possible through a medium such as water or sound. The second main type is called Electromagnetic waves, which are made of electric and magnetic fields and travel through light.
Mechanical waves also have 2 types: Transverse and Longitudinal. The first type of Mechanical wave is called Transverse and the transfer of energy vibrates perpendicularly at a 90° (degree) angle to the direction that the energy is moving.
On the other hand, Longitudinal is where the vibrations or oscillations move parallel to the direction that the wave of energy is travelling.
A great example of Longitudinal waves is sound. When people speak, the noise they make causes air particles to vibrate on and on until the noise reaches another person’s ear drums. The vibrating air speeds away from the source, creating a sound wave.
The Frequency of a wave determines the number of cycles that occur per second. To properly calculate the frequency of a wave requires taking the number of cycles and dividing them by the time of each wave.
The Period is known as the time it takes to complete one cycle. To properly calculate the period of a wave requires taking the total time of a wave and dividing it by the number of cycles that occur.
There are many examples of transverse waves that are found in everyday objects. Water waves that are found on the ocean are example of transverse waves as well as a multitude of electromagnetic waves such as:
A great example of a Longitudinal Wave are soundwaves because they have regions of high pressure where they contain molecules that are compressed as well low-pressure regions that contain molecules that are more spread out.