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16 - Wave Motion - Chapter 16 Wave Motion CHAPTE R OUTLI N...

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CHAPTER OUTLINE 16.1 Propagation of a Disturbance 16.2 Sinusoidal Waves 16.3 The Speed of Waves on Strings 16.4 Reflection and Transmission 16.5 Rate of Energy Transfer by Sinusoidal Waves on Strings 16.6 The Linear Wave Equation 486 Chapter 16 Wave Motion ± The rich sound of a piano is due to waves on strings that are under tension. Many such strings can be seen in this photograph. Waves also travel on the soundboard, which is visible below the strings. In this chapter, we study the fundamental principles of wave phenomena. (Kathy Ferguson Johnson/PhotoEdit/PictureQuest)
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487 M ost of us experienced waves as children when we dropped a pebble into a pond. At the point where the pebble hits the water’s surface, waves are created. These waves move outward from the creation point in expanding circles until they reach the shore. If you were to examine carefully the motion of a beach ball floating on the disturbed water, you would see that the ball moves vertically and horizontally about its original position but does not undergo any net displacement away from or toward the point where the pebble hit the water. The small elements of water in contact with the beach ball, as well as all the other water elements on the pond’s surface, behave in the same way. That is, the water wave moves from the point of origin to the shore, but the water is not carried with it. The world is full of waves, the two main types being mechanical waves and electromag- netic waves. In the case of mechanical waves, some physical medium is being dis- turbed—in our pebble and beach ball example, elements of water are disturbed. Elec- tromagnetic waves do not require a medium to propagate; some examples of electromagnetic waves are visible light, radio waves, television signals, and x-rays. Here, in this part of the book, we study only mechanical waves. The wave concept is abstract. When we observe what we call a water wave, what we see is a rearrangement of the water’s surface. Without the water, there would be no wave. A wave traveling on a string would not exist without the string. Sound waves could not travel from one point to another if there were no air molecules between the two points. With mechanical waves, what we interpret as a wave corresponds to the propagation of a disturbance through a medium. Considering further the beach ball floating on the water, note that we have caused the ball to move at one point in the water by dropping a pebble at another location. The ball has gained kinetic energy from our action, so energy must have transferred from the point at which we drop the pebble to the position of the ball. This is a central feature of wave motion— energy is transferred over a distance, but matter is not. All waves carry energy, but the amount of energy transmitted through a medium and the mechanism responsible for that transport of energy differ from case to case.
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