Waves: Definition, Properties, Types and Applications

Waves is an important topic if you are preparing for any Government Exam and there are nearly 2 to 3 questions asked on this topic in General Science Section. As per the analysis of the SSC and Railway Exams previous years question paper, we have unveiled that the questions on the topic Waves types and properties are asked in every SSC other government exams.

On that note let’s learn about the topic of Waves, including properties, types and applications of Waves, which one should not overlook while preparing to take any Government Exam.

Waves Defination Types and Applications

What is a Wave? Defination

We have already studied what is a wave is in class 9th & 11th, We all know the Wave Definition “A wave is a disturbance that carries energy between two points without moving any physical objects”. A wave does not carry any physical objects with it, instead, it carries information or energy in the form of signals from one point to another.

So any moving object can be described as a wave. When a stone is dropped into a pond, the water is disturbed from its equilibrium position while the wave passes, once the wave has passed, the water returns to its equilibrium position, Since they are disturbances so these waves can easily travel through empty space and don’t need a physical medium.

Types of Waves in Physics

There are various forms of waves but mainly waves are categorised into three parts which are listed below.

  1. Mechanical Wave
  2. Electromagnetic Wave
  3. Matter Wave.

Further these waves are divided into different parts, such as Mechanical wave is categorised into two parts Transverse wave and Longitudinal wave, same as Electromagnetic wave & Matter wave have different different types of waves.

Mechanical Waves

A Mechanical wave is one that requires a medium in order to travel through it. Sound waves, slinky waves, and water waves are a few examples of this. Mechanical wave are two types:

  1. Transverse wave
  2. Longitudinal wave.

Transverse Waves

Waves in which the medium moves perpendicular to the direction of the wave is known as Transverse waves.

Transverse wave examples:

  • Water waves
  • Light waves
  • S-wave earthquake waves
  • Torsional waves.

Transverse wave components:

  • Crest: The highest point of a transverse wave is known as Crest of the wave.
  • Trough: The lowest point of a transverse wave is known as Trough of the wave.

These (crest and trough) are main points to determine the wavelength in any waves, while Light waves is an important topic so that candidates must be go through with these topics which includes the Wave theory of light, Dual nature of light, Electromagnetic spectrum and other topics which is related to light.

Longitudinal Wave

Waves which has particle movement in the medium that is the same direction as the wave’s movement direction is known as Longitudinal waves.

Longitudinal wave examples:

  • Sound waves
  • P-type earthquake waves
  • Compression waves

Longitudinal wave components:

  • Compression: Region where the particles are close together.
  • Rarefaction: Region where the particles are spread apart.

Matter Waves

Matter wave refers to the wave-like behavior of particles, especially subatomic particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. This concept is based on the principle of wave–particle duality, which states that particles can exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior.

The matter wave is described by a mathematical equation called the wave function, which determines the probability of finding a particle at a particular location. The study of matter waves is an important aspect of Quantum mechanics and has significant implications in various fields, including physics, chemistry, and material science.

Electromagnetic Waves

An electromagnetic wave is a type of wave that consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that propagate through space. They are caused by magnetic and electric fields. These waves can travel through a vacuum and do not require a medium to propagate. Electromagnetic waves have various properties, including wavelength, frequency, amplitude, and polarization.

Electromagnetic waves can be classified into different types based on their wavelength and frequency, some are mentioned below:

  • Radio waves
  • Microwaves
  • Infrared radiation
  • Visible light
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • X-rays
  • Gamma rays.

Electromagnetic waves play a crucial role in our daily lives, from communication technologies to medical applications. Electromagnetic waves are named after the periodic changes that occur in magnetic and electric fields.

Properties of Waves

You must now understand wave properties because you are aware of wave types. These are the most important terms usually used in studies of waves.

Wavelength (λ): Wavelength is defined as the distance between two consecutive Crest or Though in a wave, wavelength is generally represented by the Greek letter lambda (λ), It’s measured in metres (m).

Wavelength (λ) = v/f, where v is velocity & f is the frequently of the wave.

Amplitude: It is the height of the wave and represents the amount of energy carried by a wave. It is commonly expressed in metres.

Period: A Period is the amount of time to taken a particle on a medium to complete one vibrational cycle. It is calculated in minutes or seconds.

Frequency (f): The frequency of waves is defined as the number of waves that pass across a medium in 1 second. Hertz (Hz) is the unit of frequency.

Frequency (f) = v/λ, where v is velocity & λ is the wavelength of wave.

Applications of Waves

X-Ray Images: Wave properties like diffraction, refraction, and reflection make them valuable in the medical business for non-intrusive imaging, without any damage to objects/body organs. 

MRI Imaging: MRI is an abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a technology that transmits radio waves and uses a magnetic field to produce images of soft tissues such as the brain, heart, and tumours without any damage.

Ultrasound: Ultrasounds are used to create images, The Ultrasound B-mode is used to research pregnancy phases, such as how the baby grows. 

Communication: Waves can transport data across very long distances. The length of the waves dictates how far the information may be conveyed. 

Other important applications include seismic mapping, calculating speed and location and more. There are so many applications exist, so waves are very important part of our daily life uses.

I hove you learnt about waves definition, type of waves and their applications and found this post helpful for you SSC, Railway, NTPC, Banking and other government exams. Thank you.

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