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PHYS1000

Waves

Waves
What is a wave?
A wave is a disturbance moving through a medium.
If the disturbance consists of motion of the medium, the medium moves back and forth about its usual resting position the material the medium is made up of does not ow. Waves on water move along the surface, even though the water itself only moves up and down. The wave carries energy from one place to another. Again, consider water waves. You can produce waves by moving a oating object up and down. The waves will spread out, and can make other oating objects move transferring energy to them.

Types of waves
Type of motion
transverse waves: the disturbance is at right angles to the direction the wave travels in

motion of medium

motion of wave

example: waves moving along a stretched string, water waves longitudinal waves: the disturbance is parallel to the direction the wave travels in

motion of medium motion of wave


example: sound waves

Behaviour over time


pulse: brief disturbance periodic wave: repeats continuously

PHYS1000

Waves

Periodic waves
A periodic wave consists of a repeating pattern:

peaktopeak amplitude

1 repeating cycle distance: wavelength time: period T

The wave can be described by the shape of the disturbance, the period T or frequency f , and the wavelength . The wavelength is the length of the repeating cycle. The speed of the wave, and the frequency and wavelength are related by v = f

Harmonic waves
A harmonic wave is described by: y = A sin( 2 x 2 f t + )

peak amplitude A peaktopeak amplitude

1 repeating cycle distance: wavelength time: period T

has the shape of a sine curve also called a sine wave the mathematically simplest wave EXTRA any wave of any shape can be produced by adding harmonic waves together (Fourier theorem) can also write as A cos(. . .) the formula above is in radians we can use degrees if we want: y = A sin(360 x/ 360 f t + )

PHYS1000

Waves

Properties of waves
superposition: We can add two waves by adding the disturbances of each wave together. If the two waves are periodic, with the same wavelength and frequency, the effect will be the same over time (at a given point) we have interference constructive interference: two waves add together to give a larger wave destructive interference: two waves partly or completely cancel reection: when the wave reaches a boundary with another medium, some of the wave is reected backwards into the original medium

refraction: when a waves passes through a boundary with another medium, the direction can change

PHYS1000

Waves

ADVANCED diffraction: if a wave travels through a small gap, it spreads out