PHY C14: Transverse & Longitudinal Waves

We saw before that waves can be TRANSVERSE or LONGITUDINAL.
Now we will look at:

  • Characteristics of Transverse & Longitudinal Waves
  • Polarising waves
  • Graphical representations

Let’s go!


What’s the difference?

Waves GIF
Transverse Wavesdirection of vibration is perpendicular to direction of motion
Can be polarised
Longitudinal Wavesdirection of vibration is along direction of motion

Cannot be polarised

An interactive simulation:
http://ophysics.com/w6.html


How can you differentiate them experimentally?
By passing the wave through a POLARISER.

What is polarising?
Transverse waves can come in many orientations.
Polarising is BLOCKING certain orientations & allowing others through:

Here’s an interactive simulation:
http://ophysics.com/l3.html

Thus,

If the wave is TRANSVERSE:
  • Vibrates in many orientations
    (all 90° to direction of motion)
  • Some orientations will be blocked
  • Less energy is able to pass through
  • The intensity will decrease
If the wave is LONGITUDINAL:
  • Vibrates in only 1 orientation
    (parallel to the direction of motion)
  • No waves are blocked
  • All of the energy is able to pass through
  • The intensity will remain the same

⇐ Previous in Physics: Energy & Intensity of Waves
⇒ Next in Physics: Doppler Effect

6 thoughts on “PHY C14: Transverse & Longitudinal Waves

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