Physics Concepts and Definitions

What qualities do transverse waves and longitudinal waves share?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Both types -- transverse waves, such as light waves or water waves, and longitudinal waves such as sound waves -- have wavelength, amplitude and frequency. In transverse waves, wavelength is the distance between two crests (the wave's high points) or two troughs (the wave's low points). Amplitude refers to the crest's height or the trough's depth, and frequency is how many crests or troughs pass a fixed point in a second.

    In longitudinal waves, wavelength is the distance between two compressions (produced by a mechanical vibration) and amplitude is how much the medium (on which the mechanical vibration is acting) is compressed. Frequency is how many compressions pass a fixed point in a second.

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