Wave Types and Characteristics Brenden Miller // Period 2

The Three Types of Waves

Waves transfer or transmit energy from one place to another.

3 Types of Mechanical Waves include Transverse, Longitudinal, and Surface Waves. All of which need a medium in order to travel, opposed to light waves which do not need a medium to travel.


Medium: A substance which a wave can use to travel such as particles.

Crest: The top point on a wave , like the crest of a hill.

Trough: The bottom point between the two crests of a wave.

Wavelength: Best known as the distance between two crests of a wave.

Amplitude: The magnitude of the wave, from the crest to the equilibrium or also known as the time per cycle.

Examples of Transverse Waves Include Sound Waves

Longitudinal Wave: A wave that vibrates in the direction of propagation

Rarefaction: The lessening of density in a substance (where the wavelength is spread further apart).

Compression: The increase in density in a certain area (wavelengths are closer together).

Surface Wave: Where two media are in contact (ex: air & water)

Energy: the ability to perform a designated task

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