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IB Physics Core Syllabus Summary 2009 Draft1

IB Physics Core Syllabus Summary 2009 Draft1

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Published by Catherine Zhu
These are study notes compiled by summarizing textbooks such as Tsoko's and the Official IB Physics Textbook and internet sites such as Answers.com and Wikipedia.
These are study notes compiled by summarizing textbooks such as Tsoko's and the Official IB Physics Textbook and internet sites such as Answers.com and Wikipedia.

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Published by: Catherine Zhu on Mar 29, 2009
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4.4.1. Describe a wave pulse and a continuous progressive (traveling) wave.

A wave is a disturbance that propagates through some material medium or space, a means by
which energy is transferred between two points in a medium without any net transfer of the
medium itself, or a method of transferring energy through a medium by means of a distortion that
travels away from the place where the distortion of the medium is produced.
A pulse is a single vibratory disturbance that travels away from its source through the medium.
A continuous progressive wave is a continued and repeated wave pulse.

4.4.2. State that progressive (traveling) waves transfer energy. Note that there is no net motion of the
medium through which the wave travels.

Progressive waves transfer energy through a distortion that travels away from the source of
distortion. There is no net transfer of medium.

4.4.3. Describe and give examples of transverse and longitudinal waves.

Transverse waves are waves in which the vibrations of the medium are at right angles to the
direction in which the wave is traveling, e.g. light waves.
Longitudinal waves are waves in which the particles of the medium vibrate back and forth along
the path that the wave travels, e.g. sound waves.

11

IB Physics 2009: Syllabus Summary

Catherine Zhu

4.4.4. Describe waves in two dimensions, including the concepts of wavefronts and of rays. (Huygens-
Fresnel Principle)

A wavefront is te locus of points having the same phase.
Huygen-Fresnel Principle: Each point of an advancing wave front is in fact the center of a fresh
disturbance and the source of a new train of waves; the advancing wave as a whole may be
regarded as the sum of all the secondary waves arising from points in the medium already
traversed.

A ray is an arrow drawn on a diagram to show the direction of propagation of a set of waves. It is
always at right angles to the wavefront.
Collimated light is light whose rays are parallel and thus has a planar wavefront—light that does
not disperse over an infinite distance.

4.4.5. Describe the terms crest, trough, compression and rarefaction.

Crest: the maximum height of a transverse wave.
Trough: the lowest point of a transverse wave.
Compression: a region of higher pressure in the medium of a longitudinal wave.
Rarefaction: a region of reduced pressure in the medium of a longitudinal wave.

4.4.6. Define the terms displacement, amplitude, frequency, period, wavelength, wave speed and
intensity. *

Displacement: the amount by which a particle is moved from equilibrium position.
Amplitude: the maximum displacement of a particle from its equilibrium position.
Period: the time that it takes a particle to make one complete oscillation, or the time that it takes
for the wave to travel a complete wavelength.
Wavelength: the distance along the medium between two successive particles with the same
displacement.
Wave speed: the speed with which energy is carried in the medium by the wave—only dependent
on the nature and properties of the medium.
Intensity: ??

4.4.7. Draw and explain displacement-time graphs and displacement-position graphs for transverse and
for longitudinal waves. *

4.4.8. Derive and apply the relationship between wave speed, wavelength and frequency.

4.4.9. State that all electromagnetic waves travel with the same speed in free space and recall the
orders of magnitude of the wavelengths of the principal radiations in the electromagnetic spectrum. *

Waves that travel through a material medium are called mechanical waves.
Waves that carry various forms of light are electromagnetic waves and travel through space at the
speed of light.

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