3. How waves carries energy ?

Longitudinal Waves

Longitudinal waves, sometimes called compression waves, oscillate in the direction of propagation.

Longitudinal Waves

Longitudinal waves have the same direction of vibration as their direction of travel. This means that the movement of the medium is in the same direction as the motion of the wave. Some longitudinal waves are also called compressional waves or compression waves. An easy experiment for observing longitudinal waves involves taking a Slinky and holding both ends. After compressing and releasing one end of the Slinky (while still holding onto the end), a pulse of more concentrated coils will travel to the end of the Slinky.image

Longitudinal Waves: A compressed Slinky is an example of a longitudinal wave. The wave propagates in the same direction of oscillation.

Like transverse waves, longitudinal waves do not displace mass. The difference is that each particle which makes up the medium through which a longitudinal wave propagates oscillates along the axis of propagation.

In the example of the Slinky, each coil will oscillate at a point but will not travel the length of the Slinky. It is important to remember that energy, in this case in the form of a pulse, is being transmitted and not the displaced mass.

Longitudinal waves can sometimes also be conceptualized as pressure waves. The most common pressure wave is the sound wave. Sound waves are created by the compression of a medium, usually air. Longitudinal sound waves are waves of alternating pressure deviations from the equilibrium pressure, causing local regions of compression and rarefaction.

Matter in the medium is periodically displaced by a sound wave, and thus oscillates. When people make a sound, whether it is through speaking or hitting something, they are compressing the air particles to some significant amount. By doing so, they create transverse waves. When people hear sounds, their ears are sensitive to the pressure differences and interpret the waves as different tones.

Two Types of Waves: Longitudinal vs. Transverse: Even ocean waves!

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