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Objective: Today you will investigate the difference between mechanical and electromagnetic waves.


What do waves do?

- Waves transfer

energy from one place to another.

There are two different types of waves:

Mechanical Waves and Electromagnetic Waves

Mechanical Waves
Need a medium like As they cause a particles in the air, disturbance in the water, cloth, metal, medium, they and land to be able gradually loose to travel. energy to the medium.

What are some examples of mechanical waves?

Ocean Waves Sound Waves Seismic Waves

Electromagnetic Waves
Dont need a medium, they can travel without the need of molecules, like in outer space where theres little to no molecules. Transfer energy through radiation. When they do travel through a medium, they lose energy by being absorbed.

What are some examples of electromagnetic waves?

Radio Microwave Infrared Visible Light Ultraviolet X-rays Gamma rays

What Type of Wave?

Slinky waves Sound Light from a light bulb The projector light Heater
Clicker Ocean waves TV remote control Earthquake Waves

Mechanical vs. Electromagnetic Waves

Mechanical Electromagnetic

Objective: You will be able to differentiate between longitudinal and transverse waves.

2/7/2013 Compare and contrast the two shapes of waves.

Longitudinal Transverse

Wave Shapes Longitudinal v.s. Transverse

Longitudinal Waves:
In a longitudinal waves the disturbance is parallel to the direction of propagation and causes compression and expansion in the medium carrying the wave.

Longitudinal waves can travel in solids, liquids, and gases.

Longitudinal Waves

Examples of Longitudinal Waves:

Sound waves Earthquake P-waves

Transverse Waves:
In a transverse wave the disturbance is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. They occur only in solids. Electromagnetic waves also behave in this manner.

Transverse Waves

Earthquake S-Waves Electromagnetic waves (like light waves)

Examples of Transverse Waves:

What are the differences?

What are the similarities?

Wave Motion

- How soon will the tsunami arrive to shore? - Sound strength - Echolocation - Sonar - Radar - Distance to stars

Velocity of Waves(v)


What is wavelength?
is the distance between any two successive crests or troughs on a transverse wave or two compression or expansion points in longitudinal wave (meters).

A period is the time that it takes for one wavelength to pass through a point/barrier.


What is frequency?
is the number of wavelengths that pass any point per second.

All Waves have velocity v (propagation speed and direction)

What do you need to know to calculate the velocity of a wave?

-You need the frequency of the wave (units : sec-1(1/sec) or Hertz) - You need the wavelength of the wave (Units : meters)

Example Calculations
1.A sound wave traveling through a solid material has a frequency of 500 hertz. The wavelength of the sound wave is 2 meters. What is the speed of sound in the material.

Example Calculations
2. A tuning fork is used to produce sound waves with a frequency of 440 hertz. The waves travel through a solid at 344 m/s. What is the wavelength of the sound waves?