#### Need Help?

Get in touch with us

# Different Types of Waves and Their Examples

Aug 21, 2023

#### Introduction:

• A wave is a disturbance that carries energy through matter or space.
• Waves that transmit energy are of different types, some waves we can see some waves we cannot see. We can’t see electromagnetic waves and sound waves.
• Electromagnetic waves (light waves) are non-mechanical waves, they don’t require any medium to travel. They can even travel through a vacuum.
• Waves on the water’s surface, the waves that travel down a rope or a slinky, and sound waves are mechanical waves. Mechanical waves require a medium such as water, air, rope, or a slinky to travel.

We can’t directly observe many waves like light waves and sound waves. The mechanical waves on a rope, waves on the surface of the water, and a slinky are visible to us. So, these mechanical waves can serve as a model to understand the wave phenomenon.

## Types of Waves:

Fig:1 Types of waves

### Transverse Waves:

In the figure, we see a single disturbance created on a rope. A single disturbance or a bump is called a wave pulse that travels through the medium.

Fig-2: Transverse Waves on a string

Here we notice that the rope is disturbed in the vertical direction but the pulse travels horizontally. A wave with this type of motion is called a transverse wave.

A transverse wave is one in which the vibrations are perpendicular to the direction of the wave’s motion.

Example: Waves generated on a string.

Fig-3: Transverse waves on a string

### Longitudinal Waves:

In the figure, we see a single disturbance created on a slinky by squeezing together several turns and then suddenly released. A wave pulse of closely spaced turns will move away in both directions through the medium.

Fig-4: Longitudinal waves on a slinky-1

Here we notice that the slinky is disturbed in the same, or parallel to the direction of the waves’ motion. A wave with this type of motion is called a longitudinal wave.

A longitudinal wave is one in which the vibrations are parallel to the direction of the wave’s motion.

Example: Waves generated on a slinky.

Fig-:5 Longitudinal waves on a slinky-2

### Surface Waves:

Waves that are deep in a lake or ocean are longitudinal; at the surface of the water, however, the particles move in a direction that is both parallel and perpendicular to the direction of wave motion, as shown in the figure.

Fig-6: Surface waves

This wave is a surface wave, which has characteristics of both transverse and longitudinal waves.

### Difference Between Longitudinal and Transverse Waves:

In a transverse wave when it propagates through a medium crests and troughs, or hills and valleys are generated.

Fig-7: Difference between longitudinal and transverse waves

In a longitudinal wave when it propagates through a medium region of compressions rarefactions are generated.

#### Summary

• A wave is a disturbance that carries energy through matter or space.
• Electromagnetic waves (light waves) are non-mechanical waves, they don’t require any medium to travel. They can even travel through a vacuum.
• Mechanical waves require a medium to travel. Waves on the water’s surface, the waves that travel down a rope or a slinky, and sound waves are mechanical waves.
• In longitudinal waves, the medium particles vibrate parallel to the direction of propagation of the waves. In longitudinal waves, compressions, and rarefactions are generated.
• In transverse waves, the medium particles vibrate perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the waves. In transverse waves, Crests (hills) and Troughs (valleys) are generated.

#### Dispersion of Light and the Formation of Rainbow

Introduction: Visible Light: Visible light from the Sun comes to Earth as white light traveling through space in the form of waves. Visible light contains a mixture of wavelengths that the human eye can detect. Visible light has wavelengths between 0.7 and 0.4 millionths of a meter. The different colors you see are electromagnetic waves […]

#### Force: Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

Introduction: In a tug of war, the one applying more force wins the game. In this session, we will calculate this force that makes one team win and one team lose. We will learn about it in terms of balanced force and unbalanced force. Explanation: Force Force is an external effort that may move a […]