Types of Waves, Origin of Waves, Types of Waves in Physics (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Types of Waves

Origin of Waves

  • A wave transmits information or energy from one point to another in the form of signals but no material object makes this journey.
  • Apart from sound waves, there are strong waves, visible light waves, microwaves, stadium waves, earthquake waves, sine waves, cosine waves etc. ; which we encounter in our daily lives.
  • The frequency of a wave is obtained by including a factor of time in the mix. We are completely dependent on waves for all of our wireless communications.
  • So, whenever a wave travels from one location to other, every crest is chased up by a second crest and the pattern continues.
  • For example, you make a call to your friend in another city with your mobile phone, the entire communication is happening via audio but the entire process of transmission of a signal from the talker to the receiver occurs as a waveform.
  • It converts your voice into an electrical signal with then propagates either through copper wires or through antennae in wireless communication.
  • Moreover, these crests are divided by a trough, which leads to the generation of crests & troughs pattern. According to physics, we can define waves as a periodical disturbance that propagates in a particular medium.

What Are Waves?

  • Wave is a flow or transfer of energy in the form of oscillation through a medium – space or mass.
  • Sea waves or tides, a sound which we hear, a photon of light travelling and even the movement of small plants blown by the wind are all examples of different types of waves.

Types of Waves in Physics

Types of Waves in Physics

Waves take up different forms, and hence it is vital to learn about the types of waves

  • Mechanical waves
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Matter waves

Mechanical Wave

  • When particles vibrate in a medium in which the wave propagates, then the wave is known as a mechanical wave.
  • A mechanical wave is a wave that is an oscillation of matter and is responsible for the transfer of energy through a medium.
  • Consequently, momentum and energy are exchanged among the particles and between the particles and the medium.
  • The distance of the wave՚s propagation is limited by the medium of transmission. In this case, the oscillating material moves about a fixed point and there is very little translational motion
  • Examples of mechanical wave include ripples on the water surface, surface wave, sound wave, and seismic wave.
  • One intriguing property of mechanical wave is the way they are measured, which is given by displacement divided by wavelength.
  • There are two types of mechanical waves:

Longitudinal Waves

In this type of wave, the movement of the particle is parallel to the motion of the energy i.e.. , the displacement of the medium is in the same direction to which the wave is moving. Example – Sound Waves, Pressure Waves.

Transverse Waves

When the movement of the particles is at right angles or perpendicular to the motion of the energy, then this type of wave is known as Transverse wave. Light is an example of a transverse wave. Some of the other examples are – ‘Polarized’ waves & Electromagnetic waves.

Electromagnetic Wave

  • An electromagnetic (EM) wave is created by a combination of an electric and magnetic field in planes perpendicular to each other.
  • The light you see, the colours around you are visible because of electromagnetic waves.
  • The direction of propagation of the wave is perpendicular to both the electric and magnetic field vectors.
  • One interesting property here is that unlike mechanical waves electromagnetic waves do not need a medium to travel.
  • Unlike mechanical waves, electromagnetic waves do not need a medium to propagate. There are seven types of electromagnetic waves – radio wave, microwave, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays. Light constitutes the visible part of the EM spectrum and is made up of seven colors – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.
  • All electromagnetic waves travel through a vacuum at the same speed, 299,792, 458 .

Following are the different types of electromagnetic waves:

  • Microwaves
  • X-ray
  • Radio waves
  • Ultraviolet waves

Matter Wave

  • The concept is a little complicated to understand.
  • Dual nature of matter; its ability to exist both as a particle and a wave was first brought to light by the founders of the field of Quantum Physics.
  • As an example, a beam of electrons can be diffracted just like any other beam of electromagnetic radiation or water wave. This property of matter was brought forward by Louis de Broglie՚s Hypothesis.

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