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ZingPath: Wave Types

Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

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Wave Types

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Transverse and Longitudinal Waves


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You get to take a look at the different types of waves, including transverse and longitudinal waves, and learn the difference between electromagnetic and mechanical waves.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define waves as longitudinal and transverse according to the direction of their vibration.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What are the similarities and differences between transverse and longitudinal waves?

~ Both transverse and longitudinal waves are spread with vibrations. Transverse waves vibrate in a perpendicular direction, while longitudinal waves vibrate in a parallel direction to the direction of the wave.

What type of waves do radio transmitters and X-rays emit, and how are they propagated?

~ Radio transmitters and X-rays give off electromagnetic waves, which are a type of transverse wave.

What type of waves do musical instruments emit, and how are they propagated?

~ Musical instruments create sound waves, which are vibrations of the molecules of the medium, which is usually air. These waves are examples of longitudinal waves.

What is unique about the waves produced by a stone that is dropped into water?

~ When a stone is dropped into water, both transverse and longitudinal waves are produced because the water molecules move both perpendicular and parallel to the direction of the waves. In addition, their movements are circular.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Student should have a general understanding of the following terms: longitudinal waves, transverse waves, and vibration.
Course Physics
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary longitudinal waves, transverse waves, vibration