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# lec27 - Waves There are two major categories of waves...

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There are two major categories of waves: Mechanical Waves (UPI), which require a medium of some sort, such as air, water or a slinky or string. (Sound, water waves, waves on a string or a slinky.) Electromagnetic Waves (UPII) or gravitational waves (grad school) are waves supported by a “field” or fields. They require no medium and always travel at the speed of light. (Radio, TV, cell phone signals, etc., are all electromagnetic waves.) There are many analogies between these. Waves

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Mechanical waves require a medium to propagate along or through and involve the displacement of particles. For example: The medium for sound waves is the air. Mechanical waves can be classified into two types: transverse and longitudinal. 17.1 Representation of Waves
Transverse waves cause a displacement of the material in the medium that is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Example: A water wave is an example of a transverse wave. As the water wave propagates, we see the water rise and fall, but it does not move in the direction the wave travels (If you don't believe this, look at what happens to a leaf floating on the surface of a swimming pool when a wave reaches it. You will notice that it just moves up and down). 17.1 Representation of Waves

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Longitudinal waves cause a displacement of the material in the medium that is parallel to the direction of travel. Example: Whenever you displace one end of a spring and let go, you get a longitudinal wave traveling in the spring. This works because each coil in the spring pushes on the one next to it, causing the spring to stretch in that region. The pushed coils return back to their original positions, but not before pushing on the ones next to them. In this way, a "stretched" region (which is the wave pulse) propagates along the spring.
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