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Wonders of Physics


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Using Slinky Coil to demonstrate Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Though slinky coil is commonly used to demonstrate transverse and longitudinal waves, you must not quote it as an example for either of the waves.

  • Transverse waves are waves in which the direction of the wave is perpendicular to the direction of the vibration of the particles. Examples are light wave, water wave or all the waves in the electromagnetic spectrum (which light is one of the waves.
  • Longitudinal waves are waves in which the direction of the wave is parallel to the direction of the vibration of the particles.  Example is sound wave.

 

Transverse Waves (slinky coil)

Longitudinal Waves (slinky coil)

Click here to see the simulations of transverse and longitudinal waves.

 

 


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Waves Summary

 

waves 01

Click here to view the simulations transverse and longitudinal waves

Students are confused when they need to visualise what is the direction of the particles the next moment of the wave. There is a simpler way solve such question.

To know what is the motion of the particles as a transverse wave passes through, click to view the question and the video tutorial.

waves 02

Click here to view of a question asked on rope wave – how should you move your hand to create different waves.

waves 03 graphs

Click here to view another example on graphs

waves 04 wavefronts

Click here to know more about wavefronts created in a ripple tank.

 

 


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Wave – Displacement-time graph of a particle on a wave

Jpeg

Solutions: Option C

Consider positive displacement if the particle P is above the undisturbed position, and negative displacement if the particle is below the undisturbed position.

Notes page16

The next instance, the particle P will be moving vertically downwards, i.e. moving nearer to its undisturbed position. So the displacement decreases to zero before it moves below the undisturbed position (negative displacement).