Class07 - Waves A wave is a traveling disturbance in a...

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1/23/12 Oregon State University PH 202, Lecture 7 1 Waves A wave is a traveling disturbance in a material. It is the disturbance that travels, not the material. A given particle of the material moves only slightly—“in place;” it is temporarily displaced a small distance from its original position. So the motion of the wave is very different than the motion of an individual particle in the wave. And it is the energy of the particle’s motions—not any particle itself—that is carried along at the speed of the wave’s travel.
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1/23/12 Oregon State University PH 202, Lecture 7 2 Some waves pass quickly; their peaks and valleys happen only once (or a few times). Most of the significant waves in physics (including those we will talk about here) have many repeating peaks and valleys. These are periodic waves. In fact, most waves of interest in physics are certain kind of periodic wave: a sinusoidal wave —a wave that can be described by a sine or cosine function . Unless otherwise stated here, when we say “waves,” we mean periodic, sinusoidal waves.
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1/23/12 Oregon State University PH 202, Lecture 7 3 Transverse vs. Longitudinal Waves In transverse waves , each particle in the material oscillates in a direction perpendicular to the wave’s travel. Some examples: Guitar strings Light waves* “Stadium” waves In longitudinal waves , each particle in the material oscillates in a direction parallel to the wave’s travel. Some examples: Slinky Sound waves In other, more complicated waves, each particle of the material has components of motion in directions both perpendicular and parallel to that of the wave’s travel. Water waves are an example of this.
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2012 for the course PH 202 taught by Professor Staff during the Winter '08 term at Oregon State.

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Class07 - Waves A wave is a traveling disturbance in a...

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