Modern Physics

10 wave characteristics

The waves are characterized by the production of periodic and continuous movements. Thanks to this, it is possible to accurately describe the behavior of phenomena, such as the vibrations of a particle or a body.

Waves are defined as the propagation of a disturbance of a property (magnetic, electric, pressure, etc.), through a medium that can be air, water or even a vacuum, where energy transport is carried out, but it doesn’t matter.

The propagated physical magnitude can be expressed as a function of position or time. In relation to material waves, it is important to emphasize that it is necessary for them to propagate through an elastic medium, as this can deform and recover when the waves pass.

Main characteristics of waves

After studying and analyzing the waves in depth, it was concluded that they possess certain elements that allowed scientists to discover new characteristics of them today.


Amplitude is the maximum distance or elongation of the wave calculated vertically. It can also be defined as the displacement of the wave from the equilibrium point to the valley.


The cycle of a wave consists of the path or oscillation, from the node where the crest path begins to the node where the valley path begins.


The crest of a wave is defined as the highest part of a wave or the maximum saturation point of the wave in relation to the equilibrium position.


The elongation of a wave is defined as the distance or perpendicular displacement made between the wave’s equilibrium position and its position at a given time.


Wave frequency is the amount of waves that occur in a specific time unit, where these waves advance a distance equal to (Hz = cycles / s). In other words, it is the repetition of waves at a given time.


The length of a wave is defined as the distance between two valleys or two crests. The wavelength of a wave is also defined as the minimum distance between two vibrating particles that have the same size and the same elongation or distance at all times.

This magnitude can be expressed in meters (m), kilometers (km) or any other internationally accepted unit of length.

At the

The node of a wave is defined as the point where the wave crosses the line or equilibrium point.

Time course

The period of a wave is defined as the time elapsed during the creation of a complete wave or the time during which a particle reaches a complete vibration until the next one.


The valley of a wave is defined as the lowest part of a wave in relation to its equilibrium position.

propagation speed

The propagation speed of a wave is defined as the space that a wave has traveled in a given time.

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