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Unformatted text preview: ion of transverse and longitudinal
displacements. Surface water waves are a good example. When a water wave travels
on the surface of deep water, water molecules at the surface move in nearly circular paths, as shown in Figure 16.5. Note that the disturbance has both transverse
and longitudinal components. The transverse displacement is seen in Figure 16.5
as the variations in vertical position of the water molecules. The longitudinal displacement can be explained as follows: As the wave passes over the water’s surface,
water molecules at the crests move in the direction of propagation of the wave,
whereas molecules at the troughs move in the direction opposite the propagation.
Because the molecule at the labeled crest in Figure 16.5 will be at a trough after
half a period, its movement in the direction of the propagation of the wave will be
canceled by its movement in the opposite direction. This holds for every other water molecule disturbed by the wave. Thus, there is no net displacement of any water molecule during one complete cycle. Although the molecules experience no net
displacement, the wave propagates along the surface of the water.
The threedimensional waves that travel out from the point under the Earth’s
surface at which an earthquake occurs are of both types — transverse and longitudinal. The longitudinal waves are the faster of the two, traveling at speeds in the
range of 7 to 8 km/s near the surface. These are called P waves, with “P” standing
for primary because they travel faster than the transverse waves and arrive at a seismograph ﬁrst. The slower transverse waves, called S waves (with “S” standing for
secondary), travel through the Earth at 4 to 5 km/s near the surface. By recording
the time interval between the arrival of these two sets of waves at a seismograph,
the distance from the seismograph to the point of origin of the waves can be determined. A single such measurement establishes an imaginary sphere centered on
the seismograph, with the radius of the sphere determined by the difference in arrival times of the P and S waves. The origin of the waves is located somewhere on
that sphere. The imaginary spheres from three or more monitoring stations located far apart from each other intersect at one region of the Earth, and this region is where the earthquake occurred. Quick Quiz 16.1
(a) In a long line of people waiting to buy tickets, the ﬁrst person leaves and a pulse of
motion occurs as people step forward to ﬁll the gap. As each person steps forward, the
gap moves through the line. Is the propagation of this gap transverse or longitudinal?
(b) Consider the “wave” at a baseball game: people stand up and shout as the wave arrives
at their location, and the resultant pulse moves around the stadium. Is this wave transverse
or longitudinal? 495 16.3 OneDimensional Traveling Waves 16.3 ONEDIMENSIONAL TRAVELING WAVES Consider a wave pulse traveling to the right with constant speed v on a long, taut
string, as shown in Figure 16.6. The pulse moves along the x axis (the axis of the
string), and the transverse (vertical) displacement of the string (the medium) is
measured along the y axis. Figure 16.6a represents the shape and position of the
pulse at time t 0. At this time, the shape of the pulse, whatever it may be, can be
represented as y f (x). That is, y, which is the vertical position of any point on the
string, is some deﬁnite function of x. The displacement y, sometimes called the
wave function, depends on both x and t. For this reason, it is often written y (x, t ),
which is read “y as a function of x and t.” Consider a particular point P on the
string, identiﬁed by a speciﬁc value of its x coordinate. Before the pulse arrives at
P, the y coordinate of this point is zero. As the wave passes P, the y coordinate of
this point increases, reaches a maximum, and then decreases to zero. Therefore,
the wave function y represents the y coordinate of any point P of the
medium at any time t.
Because its speed is v, the wave pulse travels to the right a distance vt in a time
t (see Fig. 16.6b). If the shape of the pulse does not change with time, we can represent the wave function y for all times after t 0. Measured in a stationary reference frame having its origin at O, the wave function is
f (x y (16.1) Wave traveling to the right (16.2) vt ) Wave traveling to the left If the wave pulse travels to the left, the string displacement is
f (x y vt ) For any given time t, the wave function y as a function of x deﬁnes a curve representing the shape of the pulse at this time. This curve is equivalent to a “snapshot” of the wave at this time. For a pulse that moves without changing shape, the
speed of the pulse is the same as that of any feature along the pulse, such as the
crest shown in Figure 16.6. To ﬁnd the speed of the pulse, we can calculate how far
the crest moves in a short time and then divide this distance by the time interval.
To follow the motion of the crest, we must substitute some particular value, say x 0 ,
in Equation 16.1 for x vt. Regar...
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2010 for the course PHYSICS 2202 taught by Professor Mihalisin during the Spring '09 term at Temple.
 Spring '09
 MIHALISIN
 Physics

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