Harrison County High School. Waves. A wave is a disturbance that carries energy through matter or space (356). We generally discuss two types of waves: Mechanical 2.Electromagnetic. Mechanical waves require a medium (or substance) in which to travel.
Harrison County High School
A wave is a disturbance that carries energy through matter or space (356)
Mechanical waves require a medium (or substance) in which to travel
Electromagnetic (EM) waves do not require a medium
Therefore, EM waves can travel through a vacuum (like space)
Recall that energy is the ability to do work…
…work is the movement of an object over a distance…
When an ocean wave (think of a hurricane’s waves) reach a boat, the waves move the boat (usually violently and sometimes destructively).
Since the boat moves, work is done, therefore the waves must transfer energy
Wave energy spreads out over time
Most waves are created by vibrations
As the energy of a wave spreads out, it creates wave fronts
As the wave fronts get larger, the energy is spread out over a larger area
Diagram 11-4 p 359
The spring pulls the mass upward when released, compresses, then pushes the mass back in the direction where is started from
If this motion can continue (forever), it is called “simple harmonic motion”
If this motion fades out over time, it is called “damped harmonic motion”
The motion of particles in a medium acts like the motion of the springs
There are three wave forms
1. Transverse waves have perpendicular motion
2. Longitudinal waves have parallel motion
3. Surface waves produce circular motion
Characteristics of a Transverse Wave
All transverse waves have similar shapes, regardless as to how big they are or what medium they travel through
An ideal transverse wave produces a shape that is represented by a sine curve
Mathematically, the sine curve is produced from the function:
f(x) = A sin q + p
The characteristics of the transverse wave can be diagramed using the sine wave (Figure 11-9, p 365)
The characteristics of a longitudinal wave can be represented by a “slinky” (Figure 1-10, p 366)
The amplitude (A) of a longitudinal wave is determined by the density or pressure on the medium, converted to a transverse or sine wave
Wavelength is the distance between the crests or troughs of two waves, OR the distance between compressions or rarefactions of two waves
The symbol for wavelength is the Greek character lambda (lc), l
Since wavelength is a measurement of distance, the SI unit is the meter
Period (T) is the amount of time required for one full wave to pass a given point
Since period is a measurement of time, the SI unit is the second (s)
Frequency is the number of vibrations (or waves) that occur in a 1.0 s time interval
Frequency = 1 / period
f = 1 / T
The SI units for frequency is equal to 1/s, and is called a hertz (Hz)
Light is a form of Electromagnetic radiation (EMR)
EMR and the electromagnetic spectrum results from the vibration of an atom
The EM spectrum occurs in a wide range of frequencies and wavelengths
There are seven regions of the EM spectrum determined by specific frequencies and wavelengths
Each band of the EM spectrum has different uses or applications. See Table 11-1, p 368.
Wave Speed is the speed with which the wave is moving through a medium
Since, speed = distance / time, then:
S = wavelength (m) / period (s)
S = l / T
Since frequency = 1 / T, then:
S = l f
Practice, p 370, Questions 1-4
The speed of a wave depends on the medium
Kinetic theory explains the differences in wave speed (p 371)
Gases: molecules spread far apart, vibrations must travel a long ways before transferring vibration to another molecule
Waves do NOT travel fast in gases (like air)
Liquids: molecules are closer together which allow the vibrations to transfer much easier
Waves travel moderately fast in liquids (like water)
Solids: molecules are tightly packed together allowing vibrations to transfer through the entire mass of molecules almost immediately
The greater a solids density, the faster the wave speed
Waves travel extremely fast through solid (like a steel railroad track)
The wave speed of EM waves in a vacuum (e.g. light in space) is finite or constant
Light speed (c) is approximately 3.0 x 108 m/s or 186,000 miles/s
According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, no speed can exceed the speed of light (c).
EM waves slow considerably when passing through mediums (e.g. air or water)
The pitch of a sound, how high or low it is, is determined by the frequency at which sound waves strike the eardrum in your ear
The higher the frequency of sound, the higher the pitch
The movement of an object toward a subject compresses sound waves (and increases the pitch) whereas movement away from a subject rarefies the sound waves (decreasing the pitch)
When the source of the sound is stationary, the sound wave fronts reach both observes with an equal frequency and therefore equal pitch
When the source of the sound is moving toward a subject, the sound wave fronts are compressed, creating an apparent increase in frequency, and therefore a much higher pitch.
The Doppler Effect occurs in both mechanical (e.g. sound) and non-mechanical (e.g. EMR) waves.
Trivia: What happens with the situation below?
When waves interact with an obstacle, three things can happen:
1. Reflection: the bouncing back of a wave as it meets a surface or boundary
2. Diffraction: the bending of a wave as it passes an edge or an opening
3. Refraction: the bending of a wave as it passes from one medium to another
Waves reflect at “free” boundaries See Figure 11-16 A, p 374.
Waves reflect and invert at “fixed” boundaries. See Figure 11-16 B, p 374.
Diffraction is the bending of waves around an obstacle. See Figure 11-17, p 375.
Refraction is the bending of waves as they pass from one medium to another (and the wave speed is changed)
No change in wave speed = no refraction
When different waves occur in the same place, they combine together to produce a single wave…this is called Interference
Waves are always added together in Interference
If the resulting interference wave is greater than either original waves, the result is called “constructive interference”
If the resulting interference wave is smaller than largest original wave, the result is called “destructive interference”
Standing waves are produced when an original wave and a reflected wave of the same amplitude and frequency interfere with each other.
Standing waves produce what appears to be a wave that does not move and contains regions with no vibrations (i.e. nodes) and maximum vibrations (i.e. antinodes)
See Figure 11-23, p 380