Sound and Oscillation


Wave is the part of Physics responsible for studying the characteristics and properties of wave movements.

Waves are disturbances capable of transporting energy

We can classify any disturbance or vibration in a specific medium as a wave . Waves produce different movements , as they are forms of energy transmission ( mechanical or electromagnetic ), such as the movement that occurs when we throw a stone into a river .
We call Waveform the part of Physics that is responsible for studying the common characteristics and properties of wave movements.
The wave is not capable of originating itself, as it only transfers kinetic energy from a source. Therefore, source is the object or medium that can create a wave.
Waves can be classified according to their nature, type of vibration and direction of propagation.
As for nature:

– Mechanical waves : They need a natural medium to propagate. Example: sound waves .

– Electromagnetic waves : They do not need a natural medium to propagate. Ex: x-ray , radio waves, light, etc.

As for the vibration direction:

– Transverse waves : They vibrate perpendicular to the propagation. Ex: Sea waves, waves on ropes.

As for the propagation direction:

– One-dimensional: Propagate in only one direction. Example: wave of a rope.

– Bidirectional: They propagate in up to two directions. Ex: wave caused by the fall of some material in the water.

– Three-dimensional : They propagate in all directions. Example: sound waves.

Wave characteristics

– Frequency : Represents the degree of oscillation of the points of the medium in which the wave propagates. The frequency of a wave is measured in Hz (hertz), which is equivalent to 1 second. Therefore, if the frequency is 75 Hz, we can say that the wave oscillates 75 times per second. Another important factor is that the frequency value is always equal to the source value.

– Period : It is the time that the source needs to generate a complete wave. Relating the frequency (f) with the period (T), we have the following equation:

– Wavelength : It is the size of the wave. This length can be measured from crest to crest (highest part of the wave), from start to end, or from trough to trough (lowest part of the wave). The wave crest is named by the Greek letter lambda (λ).

– Velocity : It is the speed that the wave takes to propagate. To calculate the speed, we have the following equation:

– Amplitude : It is the distance between the lowest part (valley) and the highest part (crest) of the wave, that is, the “height” of the wave.

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