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 & Railway Exams previous years question paper, we have unveiled that the questions on the topic Waves types and properties are asked in every SSC exam.

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

Waves: Types, Defination & Applications

What is a Wave?

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. A time factor is added to the equation to determine a wave’s frequency. For all of our wireless communications, we just use waves.

Types of Waves in Physics

The various forms of waves are listed below.

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 wave

While the highest and lowest point of a transverse wave is known as Crest and Trough respectively.

Light waves is an important topic that candidates must be thorough with which includes the Wave theory of light, the dual nature of light, the electromagnetic spectrum and other topics related to light.

Longitudinal Wave

A longitudinal wave has particle movement in the medium that is the same dimension as the wave’s movement direction.

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.

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.

Matter Waves

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.

Electromagnetic Waves

Since they are disturbances, these waves can easily travel through empty space and don’t need a physical intermediary to do so. They are caused by magnetic and electric fields. 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.

Wavelength: Wavelength is defined as the distance between two consecutive crests or troughs in a wave. It’s measured in metres.

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 it takes a particle on a medium to complete one vibrational cycle. It is calculated in minutes or seconds.

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

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 utilising harmless sound waves in both medical and industrial applications. The Ultrasound B-mode is used to research pregnancy phases, such as how the baby grows. 

For communicating: Waves can transport data across very vast 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.

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