Q:

What are transverse waves?

A:

Quick Answer

A transverse wave is one where the displacement of the medium in which the wave is travelling is perpendicular to its propagation. A pond ripple is an example of a transverse wave.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

A transverse wave cannot be instantiated in gases or through liquids because no mechanism exists to drive motion at right angles to the direction of the wave's propagation. It can occur on a liquid's surface, such as with waves at sea, or through a solid, an example of which is one of the two types of seismic waves.

Waves which cause displacement of a medium parallel to the direction of propagation are called longitudinal waves. Classic examples of longitudinal waves are sound waves and the motion found in a "slinky." Sinusoidal pressure variation is created in air when a single-frequency sound wave is passed through it. These densely and loosely packed regions of air molecules occurring in the direction of the sound wave's propagation are characteristic of a longitudinal wave

Longitudinal waves can occur in solid and liquid media. The properties of both wave types are often utilized effectively in geological surveys. In the Earth's material, both transverse (S wave) and longitudinal (P wave) waves are seismic waves. Data collection from geological studies showing longitudinal-wave penetration of a subsurface region and zero transverse-wave penetration suggests the intrusion of a fluid, such as magma, into that area.

Learn more about Optics & Waves

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference in longitudinal versus transverse waves?

    A:

    The difference between longitudinal and transverse waves lies in their direction of particle displacement. Longitudinal waves are waves in which particle displacement is parallel to the movement of the wave, whereas transverse waves have particles that move perpendicular to the movement of the wave.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are sound waves classified as mechanical?

    A:

    Sound is classified as a mechanical wave because it requires a medium to propagate its energy and cannot be heard in vacuum.

    There are two broad classes of waves - mechanical and electromagnetic. One requires a medium to be heard, and the other does not. Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is light faster than sound?

    A:

    Light is composed of photons, which are discrete collections of energy with wave and particle properties, while sound travels as a wave through a medium, which makes it travel more slowly. While light and sound have some similarities due to wave-particle duality, their physical attributes differ significantly.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the scientific definition of sound?

    A:

    Sound is a mechanical wave resulting from the back and forth vibration of the particles of the medium through which the wave is moving. The compressions and rarefactions of sound waves move parallel to the direction of wave propagation, making sound a longitudinal wave.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore