Mechanical waves

Types of Waves

The world's full of waves, and there are 3 types of waves:

1- Mechanical waves

These waves are an oscillation of matter. Therefore; energy is transferred through a physical medium. However; the oscillated material does not move away from its balance position.
Examples:- Sound waves - Water waves - Seismic waves

2- Electromagnetic waves

This kind of waves is created because of the vibrations between the electric and magnetic fields and do not need physical medium to be transferred, and can travel through space with a speed equals the speed of light.
Examples: - Visual light - Ultraviolet and infrared rays- Radio and TV waves - X-ray waves - Radar waves

3- Physical waves (De Broglie waves) 

These waves are an important and essential part of the quantum mechanics (because they are an example of wave-particle duality)
Examples: - waves associated with all the initial particles that make up the atom (electrons – protons) even the movement of atoms themselves.

Mechanical waves

A mechanical wave needs 3 things to be produced and transferred:
  1. Source of disturbance
  2. A medium containing elements that can be disturbed so that energy can be transferred (If the medium doesn't contain elements that can be disturbed then, energy transfer cannot occur)
  3. Method / mechanism for transferring energy

Methods of energy transferring in mechanical waves

In mechanical waves, energy transfers in one of two methods: 
  1. Transverse waves (major waves)
    The particles of medium oscillate in the direction perpendicular to wave propagation. An example of these waves is the vibrations in a guitar string.

    Transverse waves (major waves)

  2. Longitudinal waves (secondary waves)
    The particles of the medium oscillate in a direction parallel to wave propagation. An example of these waves is sound waves.
    Longitudinal waves (secondary waves)


‏Images: Jack Westin ‏- Transverse and Longitudinal Waves Wavelength And Propagation Speed - Periodic Motion - MCAT Content

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