wave

2022

We explain what a wave is and the types of wave that exist. Also, its parts and how this phenomenon can spread.

The waves arise because of oscillations and vibrations of matter.

What is a wave?

In physical, is known as a wave to the propagation of energy (and not mass) in the space due to the disturbance of some of its physical properties, such as the density, Pressure, electric field or magnetic field. This phenomenon can occur in an empty space or in one that contains matter (air, Water, land, etc.).

The waves are produced as a consequence of oscillations and vibrations of the matter, which propagate in time as described by the Wave theory, the branch of the physical in charge of understanding this phenomenon, which is extremely common in the universe.

According to the origin of the waves or the nature of the medium through which they propagate, the effects of their appearance and their characteristics will depend. Thus, we can speak of waves of light, from sound, etc., each with different physical properties and frequencies, depending, among other things, on the medium in which they propagate and on how much Energy transport.

Some waves, such as sound waves, cannot be transported in a vacuum, they require a physical medium. Others, like electromagnetic waves, can do it perfectly and quickly: this is how the artificial satellites that forward information to the Earth by microwave.

Wave types

Gravitational waves are disturbances of space-time.

We can classify the waves according to different criteria.

Depending on the medium in which it is propagate:

• Mechanical waves. They require an elastic medium (liquid, gaseous or solid) and specific conditions of temperature Y Pressure, to spread effectively. For example: sound waves that travel through air or water.
• Electromagnetic waves. They do not require a medium because they can propagate in a vacuum. For example: light.
• Gravitational waves. Alterations of space-time (just confirmed by science).

According to its periodicity:

• Periodic waves. They present repetitive cycles.
• Non-periodic waves. They have irregular cycles.

• One-dimensional waves. They propagate through a single dimension in space.
• Two-dimensional waves. They propagate through two dimensions and are also often called superficial.
• Three-dimensional waves. They propagate in three dimensions and are often called spherical.

According to the movement of the medium:

• Longitudinal waves. The particles in the middle move in the same direction as the wave propagating.
• Transverse waves. The particles vibrate perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave.

Parts of a wave

A wave is made up of the following parts:

• Crest. It is the maximum point in the undulation.
• Valley. It is the lowest point of a wave (the opposite of the crest).
• Period. Is he weather It takes the wave to go from one peak to the next, that is, to repeat itself. It is represented by the letter T.
• Amplitude. It represents the maximum variation of the displacement, the vertical distance between the crest and the midpoint of the wave. It is represented by the letter A.
• Frequency. It is the number of times that the wave repeats itself in a given unit of time, which is why it is calculated according to the formula f = 1 / T. It is represented by the letter f.
• Wavelength. It is the distance between two consecutive ridges of the ripple. It is represented by the symbol λ (lamda).
• Cycle. It's the full ripple, from start to finish.

How do the waves propagate?

Electromagnetic waves do not require a material medium to propagate.

Waves usually need a material medium to propagate, although some can do so perfectly in a vacuum (depending on the nature of the wave).

For example, electromagnetic waves, which constitute oscillations of electric and magnetic fields and travel at the The speed of lightThey do not require a material medium to propagate.

On the other hand, mechanical waves require a physical medium to propagate, such as water, a metal or the air. For example, when we throw a stone into a pond, the stone causes a wave that travels through the water.

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