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Wave Basics

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 11 months ago

Wave Basics

Use this page to record what you've learned about the basic elements of waves and their operation.  Use "Heading Two" for subtitles, and consider including information on disturbances, mediums, transverse waves and longitudinal waves.  You may also want to mention kinetic energy and potential energy. 




A medium is what waves travel through. Mediums never move foward, just up and down. In the animated picture seen below, it is the energy traveling through an object. A medium can allow energy to transfer to other things better than other substances do. If you tap a glass of water with your fingernail, the energy you used to tap the glass is converted into waves. The waves then travel through the medium and throughout the glass and then into the water in a form that you see as little ripples in the water. 


The ripples come from the edge, and go towards the middle in even increments. This is because all forms of energy have repeating patterns, no matter what type. Mediums are most of the time an object or a thing. An few examples of a medium are: water, air, ground, rope, and a lot more.

 Waves can be represented by simple harmonic motion.

The ripples come from all sides, because the energy from tapping the glass entered the glass before the water, and it takes more energy for the waves to transfer from one material to another than to move in the material that it is already in.  Therefore the waves will travel through the glass for as long as it can before transferring to the water and will circle the glass in each direction and bounce off of itself before it will enter the water.





A wave is the form energy takes when it transfers from one object to another. It is caused by moving energy. Waves can be big or small depending on how much force or energy is applied. The size of the meduim depends on the size of the wave(s) too.




A disturbance is like an interference that causes changes in something. Sometimes a disturbance can come from a person or boat hitting the water, also a fish can too by hitting the serface with its tail. For an example, when a car hits a bump, the direction the car is going might be changed.



Transverse Wave


A transverse wave is a wave that causes a disturbance in another medium changing its direction. So if a wave "A" was advancing, another wave (tranverse wave, wave B) perpendicular to it will create a disturbance on wave A, changing wave A's direction. A transverse wave moves up and down. A transverse wave does not move from side to side, a longitudinal wave does that.



Longitudinal Wave


longitudinal wave is a wave that have a vibration following, traveling along or parrallel to the direction the wave is moving. For example, if you push a slinky,  the energy from your push will come back and fourth until there is no more energy for it to move until you push it again. A longitudinal wave only move side to side, it never moves up or down. 








Reflection is the bouncing back of a wave after it strikes a barrior. It happens when a waves meets a new medium that they cannot travel through. Reflection also happens when light reflects of something.  




Refraction is the turning or bending of any wave, such as a light or sound wave. When it passes from one medium into another of different opstcal density. An example of refraction is: if you put a straw in a clear glass, that is filled with water, it looks like the straw split in half. The cool this is is that the straw didn't split, it just looks like it did.

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