# Describing Waves

Jun 17th, 2015
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What are waves? Waves are moving energy. Light energy moving from the computer screen to your eye moves as light waves. Sound energy moving from a radio to your ear moves as sound waves.Waves can move along ropes, strings or across the surface of water. Some waves can even travel through space.

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Describing WavesShare |Email | PrintWhat are waves?Waves are moving energy. Light energy moving from the computer screen to your eye movesas light waves. Sound energy moving from a radio to your ear moves as sound waves.Waves can move along ropes, strings or across the surface of water. Some waves can eventravel through space. When waves move along, they make the surface or object move inregular patterns often called wave disturbances.The important thing to notice is that no 'matter' is moved with the wave. Water waves,which move the water particles up and down on the spot don't actually move any water alongwith the wave. Only the energy travels along.Transverse and longitudinal wavesAll waves can be put into two groups:Transverse wavesLongitudinal wavesIn transverse waves the particles vibrate at right angles to the movement of energy.Examples are light waves, water waves and all electromagnetic waves.In longitudinal waves the particles vibrate in the same direction as the movement of energy.Examples are sound waves and seismic waves.Wave wordsTo compare waves we need to be able describe their characteristics, these include:AmplitudeWavelengthTime periodFrequencyThe amplitude of a wave is the height of the wave from the middle to a peak or trough. Thisis often called the maximum displacement of the wave. (The displacement of a particle isthe distance a particle moves from the centre.)Watch out. Many students make th

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