Define Wave and Types of Waves

Let us first look at the simple definition of Wave.

Wave Definition

In physics, a wave can be defined as a disturbance, which travels through a medium or no medium (vacuum) and propagates energy from one place (source) to another without the transportation of the matter.

Wave Definition
Figure: Wave Diagram

Types of Waves

The waves can be broadly classified into two categories-

    1. Mechanical Wave (Longitudinal Wave and Transverse Wave)
    2. Electromagnetic Wave

Mechanical Wave

The Mechanical Waves are the waves that require a medium to propagate or the mechanical waves require a medium to travel from one place to another.

Example- Sound Wave is a mechanical wave as it needs medium to travel (sound energy).

The two types of mechanical waves are- Longitudinal Wave and Transverse Wave

Longitudinal Wave

Longitudinal Wave- In this type of wave, the particles of the medium vibrate in the direction of propagation of the wave.

Examples- Waves on Springs, Sound Waves in air.

Transverse Wave

Transverse Wave- In this type of Wave, the particles of the medium vibrate perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave.

Examples of Transverse Wave- Waves on Strings under tension, Waves on the surface of the water.

Electromagnetic Wave

Electromagnetic Wave- These are the waves that do not necessarily require a medium to propagate. It means electromagnetic waves can even travel through a vacuum.

Electromagnetic Wave travels with a velocity of Light. (3 × 108)

Examples of Electromagnetic Waves- Radio waves, X-rays, and Lightwave.

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