Transverse and Longitudinal Waves | Zona Land Education

Transverse and Longitudinal Waves


Here are some links and information for understanding transverse waves and longitudinal waves. These animated pages show the definitions in motion. A brief description of each type of wave follows here, and then some links to further information.

 

A Sort definition of terms

Transverse wave - A transverse wave is a wave in which the motion of the medium is perpendicular to the motion of the wave.

For example, with a transverse wave:

The motion of the medium is up and down.
The motion of the medium is up and down.
The motion of the wave is to the left or to the right
The motion of the wave is to the left or to the right

Water waves are mostly transverse. The water moves up and down while the wave travels over the surface of the water.

 

Longitudinal wave - A longitudinal wave is a wave in which the motion of the medium is parallel to the motion of the wave.

For example, with a longitudinal wave:

The motion of the medium is to the left or to the right.
The motion of the medium is to the left or to the right.
The motion of the wave is to the left or to the right
The motion of the wave is to the left or to the right

Sound waves are longitudinal. The air vibrates back and forth along the same line that the wave is traveling down.

 

Definition of a Transverse Wave

 

Definition of a Longitudinal Wave

 

Representing a Longitudinal Wave as a Transverse Wave




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