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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 17 Study Guide for Waves in one Dimension 17.1 Representation of waves Skill 17.1 Understand the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves. Mechanical waves can be classified into two types: transverse and longitudinal . 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). 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 travelling 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. Skill 17.2 Understand the difference between the motion of a wave and the motion of the material at some location in the medium through which the wave propagates. As we can see from the examples above, the motion of a mechanical wave is not the same as the motion of the material in the medium . This is particularly easy to see with transverse waves because the material in the propagation medium does not move in the direction the wave travels. For longitudinal waves, we see that this must be so because the wave constantly travels in the same direction, while the material in the medium moves back and forth....
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course PHYS 2054 taught by Professor Stewart during the Spring '08 term at Arkansas.
- Spring '08