What is Transverse wave: Definition and 104 Discussions

In physics, a transverse wave is a wave whose oscillations are perpendicular to the direction of the wave's advance. This kind of wave is marked by crests and troughs, where the medium oscillates to and fro , respectively ,normal to the direction of propagation. This is in contrast to a longitudinal wave which travels in the direction of its oscillations.
A simple example is given by the waves that can be created on a horizontal length of string by anchoring one end and moving the other end up and down.
Another example is the waves that are created on the membrane of a drum. The waves propagate in directions that are parallel to the membrane plane, but the membrane itself gets displaced up and down, perpendicular to that plane.
Light is another example of a transverse wave, where the oscillations are the electric and magnetic fields, which point at right angles to the ideal light rays that describe the direction of propagation.
Transverse waves commonly occur in elastic solids due to the shear stress generated; the oscillations in this case are the displacement of the solid particles away from their relaxed position, in directions perpendicular to the propagation of the wave. These displacements correspond to a local shear deformation of the material. Hence a transverse wave of this nature is called a shear wave. Since fluids cannot resist shear forces while at rest, propagation of transverse waves inside the bulk of fluids is not possible. In seismology, shear waves are also called secondary waves or S-waves.
Transverse waves are contrasted with longitudinal waves, where the oscillations occur in the direction of the wave. The standard example of a longitudinal wave is a sound wave or "pressure wave" in gases, liquids, or solids, whose oscillations cause compression and expansion of the material through which the wave is propagating. Pressure waves are called "primary waves", or "P-waves" in geophysics.

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  1. M

    I Transverse wave observation

    Hi. What equipment /mechanism / experimental procedure is used to determine that the nature of a wave fired from an electron gun is transverse in transit? Thanks Martyn
  2. H

    I Why is the electric field in y direction in a TE guided wave?

    Hi, I have a fairly simple question, but the answer is probably not as simple. I'm not sure to understand why in a guided wave (TE), the electric field is in the y direction. I know ##E_z = 0##, but why ##E_x = 0, B_y = 0##?
  3. S

    Correct statement about transverse wave propagating along a string

    My answer is (1) only but my teacher said (3) is also correct. I don't understand why, I think when the wave is moving to the left both Q and R will be moving upwards, no? Thanks
  4. V

    Mechanism of mechanical transverse wave in solids

    I am not sure, but below is my attempt. In solids the force between adjacent atoms/molecules is very strong. So, when a part of the solid medium is displaced perpendicular to the solid medium like a rope, the atoms/particles in the medium just ahead of the displaced part will tend to bring the...
  5. U

    A transverse wave traveling through a medium versus a particle of the medium

    I imagine a particle traveling across 1 wave cycle. The total vertical distance traveled across the wave cycle is 4 x the amplitude of the wave. The total vertical distance traveled in 1 minute: 5 cycles in 1 second, thus 5x60 cycles in a minute then 4 x amplitudes effectively traveled per...
  6. greg_rack

    Distance traveled by a particle in a transverse wave

    Taken into account the transverse nature of the wave, I deduce the particle must move of harmonic motion from maximum amplitude ##A## to negative maximum amplitude ##-A##. The period ##T=\frac{1}{f}## is equal to the time in which a particle travels a distance ##d=3\cdot A##. I then approximated...
  7. T

    Problem about transverse wave

    Homework Statement The problem is shown on the photo. And the actual answer is A. 0.5s, and I thought it would be B. 1.0s Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution Here is my thought, The journey from A to B is just a half period, then the whole period would be 4s, as a result, the time it...
  8. YMMMA

    Physics: transverse wave & wavelength & motion

    Homework Statement the question asks at which point is the string moving upward at the instant shown? Homework Equations No equations needed The Attempt at a Solution I am not sure how I should approach this type of questions. A) will move downward B) downward then upward C) upward then...
  9. Jozefina Gramatikova

    Wave function - displacement - transverse wave

    Homework Statement A transverse traveling wave on a string starts at x = 0 and travels towards x = ∞. The wave has an amplitude of 1.20 m, wavelength of 4.60 m and travels at a speed of 14.3 m/s . At time t = 0.0 s the displacement at position x = 0.0 m is 1.20 m. (b) Calculate the displacement...
  10. T

    Propagation of transverse pulse on a string

    Homework Statement A horizontal string at tension T is tapped at the midpoint to create a small transverse pulse. What happens to the pulse as time passes? If the pulse is instead created at a point other than the midpoint, what happens to it? Neglect damping. Homework Equations Speed of...
  11. P

    Transverse wave on a string

    Homework Statement Two long strings P and Q ,each having linear mass density 1.2 x 10^-2 are stretched by a different tension 4.8 N and 7.5 N respectively and are kept parallel to each other with their left ends at x=0.Wave pulses are produced on the strings at t=0 on string P and at t=20ms at...
  12. S

    Energy in each cycle of transverse wave?

    Homework Statement Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution a. ##{ P }_{ avg }=\frac { 1 }{ 2 } \mu v{ \omega }^{ 2 }{ A }^{ 2 }=\frac { 1 }{ 2 } 0.075\frac { 10 }{ 3 } { 0.35 }^{ 2 }{ (10\pi ) }^{ 2 }=15.1W## b. Not sure how to calculate that... I'm guessing it'd be some integral over 1...
  13. gimak

    Energy of a transverse wave

    Homework Statement There's a string with tension T & mass density μ that has a transverse wave with ψ(x,t) = f(x±vt). f(x) is an even function & goes to zero as x→±∞ Show that the total energy in the string is given by ∫dw*T*((f'(w))2; limits of integration are ±∞ Homework Equations The...
  14. Const@ntine

    Transverse Wave: Time difference between two points

    Homework Statement A transverse wave that is propagated through a wire, is described through this function: y(x,t) = 0.350sin(1.25x + 99.6t) SI Consider the point of the wire that is found at x= 0: a) What's the time difference between the two first arrivals of x = 0 at the height y =...
  15. S

    Transverse Wave Velocity/Acceleration

    Homework Statement The left-hand end of a long horizontal stretched cord oscillates transversely in SHM with frequency 270 Hz and amplitude 2.4 cm . The cord is under a tension of 90 N and has a linear density 0.08 kg/m . At t=0, the end of the cord has an upward displacement of 2.1 cm and is...
  16. RavenBlackwolf

    Transverse Wave on a String

    < Mentor Note -- thread moved to HH from the technical physics forums, so no HH Template is shown > A transverse wave on a string has an amplitude of 16cm, a wavenumber of 5.7m-1, and a frequency of 39Hz. What is the propagation speed of that wave? (a) 6.84 m/s (b) 39.2 m/s (c) 43 m/s (d) 6.24...
  17. terryds

    Frequency of Beat in Transverse Wave

    By addition of transverse wave, I can get a beat. ## y_1 = A\ \sin (\omega_1 t + kx)\\ y_2 = A\ \sin(\omega_2 t + kx)\\ --------------------------------- + \\ y_1 + y_2 = 2A\ \cos(\frac{\omega_1-\omega_2}{2} \ t) \sin(\frac{\omega_1+\omega_2}{2} \ t + kx)## So, I get new amplitude as a function...
  18. ashsully

    B Solving Confusion with Waves in Physics

    Hi everyone. I'm currently studying waves in physics at the moment but I'm super confused and hoping someone could help me clear up some things. Firstly I'll post what I think it correct (I know it's wrong) and hopefully someone could pick up exactly where I am getting confused. Waves are a...
  19. M

    Pulse Transverse wave Tension

    Homework Statement A transverse pulse is propagating on a 2.0 m long string of mass 50 g. The pulse is described by the equation: y(x,t)=pi/(pi+(3x/2+pi(t))^2) , with x and y in meters, and t in seconds. Find the tension in the string. Homework Equations y=asin(wt+thetha)[/B]The Attempt at...
  20. N

    What is the true definition of a crest in physics?

    Homework Statement I was taught that a crest is the section of the wave above rest position. Homework EquationsThe Attempt at a Solution Now that I am studying Physics at higher level I am getting mixed up as sometimes I encounter situations where a crest is the whole part/section of the...
  21. ashtadmir

    Phasor analysis of transverse wave on a string

    The way we have a phasor analysis for a point mass executing un-damped simple SHM, is there something like that for transverse waves on a string. According to me if we fix the position then we can focus on the isolated SHM at that particular position. Is there any way in which I can relate the...
  22. N

    Transverse wave in a string

    Homework Statement http://puu.sh/frpk5/eae7bce2e3.png [Broken] Homework Equations v = sqrt(T / (m / L)); The Attempt at a Solution 7.86 g / cm^3 = 7860 kg / m^3 T = v^2 * m/L T = 160 ^ 2 * 7860 which is a huge number I have no idea where the diametre plays a part.
  23. A

    Please help, conceptual motion of a transverse wave on a string question

    I am losing my mind over this, it seems the longer i think about it the further i get from a definitive answer. It started with me trying to understand the variables the would result in a standing wave, ie: what needs to occur, why, and how it occurs. At first i was confused because it seemed...
  24. Jackson Lee

    Could transverse wave on a string could be used to produce sound?

    I feel curious about why we pay so much attention on standing waves on the string. Doesn't transverse wave on the string can't be used to produce sound?
  25. I

    Trying to cancel units out for velocity of transverse wave

    Not a specific question, but I just need help understanding how units cancel out. v = sqrt(force of tension / mass density) Force of tension is in Newtons. Mass density is in kg/m^3 Nt/ (kg/m^3) = (kg*m/s^2)/(kg/m^3) =(I cross multiply here) (kg*m*m^3)/(s^2*kg) kg cancels out...
  26. P

    Equation of a transverse wave

    Write the equation of a transverse wave that has a frequency of 75.0 hz, wavelength of .190m,an initial height of .7m and initial transverse velocity of +350m/s traveling in the negative direction.Also sketch at t=0 y(x,t)=Asin(kx+/-ωt+φ) K=33.06 ω=472.4rad/s φ= A= x= y= that's...
  27. Nemo's

    Speed of a transverse wave in srting

    Homework Statement A 2 kg block hangs from a rubber cord, being supported so that the cord is not stretched. The unstretched length of the cord is 0.5m, and its mass is 5 g. The "spring constant" for the cord is 100N/m. The block is released and stops momentarily at the lowest point. a-...
  28. jerry0696

    Is sound wave a transverse wave?

    i had always belived that sound wave was a longitudinal wave till i come across something saying that its a transverse wave in solid.can anyone explain is it so??
  29. Saxby

    Wave function at origin on transverse wave

    Homework Statement You have the simple harmonic equation for a transverse wave which is y(x,t)=Acos(10∏t+5x), what is the wave function at the originThe Attempt at a Solution By "at the origin" does it mean where x=0 and t=0. Because it that case y=Acos0 and therefore y=A. Is that right?
  30. C

    Transverse Wave equation for a string of changing length?

    I'm trying to learn more about the physics of guitars. I followed through the derivation of the transverse wave equation and that makes sense, but it seems like several of the simplifying assumptions might not apply. There are a lot of approximations with small angles and small slopes. I...
  31. A

    Transverse Wave in a String Reflection and Transmission

    A string with a density/length of rho and tension T has an elastic spring with stiffness k at x=0. There is a step pulse (fi = H(t)) incident on this discontinuity. Determine the reflected and transmitted waves. Im not sure what boundary condition to use at the location of the spring. All...
  32. P

    Finding the total vertical distance - transverse wave

    Homework Statement Suppose the amplitude and frequency of the transverse wave in the figure are, respectively, 5.89 cm and 5.00 Hz. Find the total vertical distance (in cm) through which the colored dot moves in 3.00 s. http://i45.tinypic.com/3007ihy.png Homework Equations y = A sin...
  33. L

    Equation for transverse wave

    What is [an] equation for a transverse wave with no boundary conditions, as a function of x and t? I want to model a fluctuation string where neither of the ends are bound.
  34. S

    Diffraction Transverse Wave Confusion

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Doubleslit.gif As shown in the link, diffraction is shown in the form of these kind of longitudinal waves. The diffraction pattern explains the wave interference pattern observed in the double slit experiment. However in the case of the delayed choice double...
  35. H

    Calculating Amplitude of Transverse Wave

    Homework Statement The wavefunction of a transverse sinusoidal wave on a string has the form y(x,t) = Acos(kx + ωt + φ), where x and y are in m, t is in seconds and φ is the phase constant in radians. The wave has a period T = 24.5 ms and travels in the negative x direction with a speed of...
  36. C

    Transverse Wave properties

    Ok, so the wavelength is the length between two crests. Is it also the length of a complete wave? (sorry if I sound really stupid) The period is the time taken for one particle that makes up the wave to complete its oscillation, and it is also the time taken to make one complete wave. But I...
  37. P

    Speed of longitudinal wave 30 times the speed of a transverse wave?

    Homework Statement What must be the stress (F/A) in a stretched wire of a material whose Young's modulus is Y for the speed of longitudinal waves to equal 30 times the speed of transverse waves? Homework Equations Y=\frac{Fl_0}{Al} v_L=f\lambda = \sqrt{F/\mu} v_T = \omega A...
  38. T

    Transverse Wave on Flexible String Please help.

    Transverse Wave on Flexible String! Please help. [b]1. The diagram represents a snapshot of a standing transverse wave on a flexible string taken when the displacement is at a maximum. The string is 0.65 m long with tension 11.00 N. The total mass of the string is 8.11 g. Find the period of the...
  39. Q

    Transverse wave question

    Homework Statement A transverse sinusoidal wave is moving along a string in the positive direction of an x-axis with a speed of 80 m/s. At t = 0, the string particle at x = 0 has a transverse displacement of 4.2 cm from its equilibrium position and is not moving. The maximum transverse speed...
  40. M

    Longitudinal and transverse wave propagation

    Why do transverse waves propagate through solids , while logitudinal waves can only propagate through fluids?? I'm still confused about this
  41. S

    Mechanical Oscillator: finding frequency and wavelength of transverse wave

    A mechanical oscillator connected to the end of a stretched string creates a transverse displacement of the end that is given by ξ = 0.009 sin(22.8 t), where ξ is in meters, t is in seconds (and the argument of the sin function is in radians). The tension in the string is 11.08, and the string...
  42. S

    Power of a transverse wave related to rope length

    Homework Statement Two traveling transverse waves propagate down two long ropes under the conditions that the linear mass density, tension, and transverse displacement amplitude for the two ropes are the same, but that one rope has twice the length of the other. If the shorter rope has a...
  43. D

    Evidence that light is a transverse wave?

    I read that one of the evidence was the experiment done with two polaroids (where one is rotated relative to another). Can you give me others please? Thanks!
  44. E

    Transverse wave along a string

    Homework Statement Equation of transverse wave traveling along a string is: y=6cm sin(0.02\pix-4\pit) where x and y are in cm and t is in seconds A)find max transverse speed of a particle in the string B)Find transverse displacement of a particle in the string at x=3.5cm and t=0.2s...
  45. L

    Transverse wave velocity.

    Homework Statement I'll try to translate the problem as faithfully as I can: A wave pulse moves along the positive OX axis. Its form when t=0 is f(x) = y0/[1 + (x/a)^2] Find the expression for the transverse velocity as a function of x and t. At the point x=0, what will be its max...
  46. C

    Displacement of a Transverse Wave on a String Question

    Homework Statement Question 1 (a) The displacement of a transverse wave on a string is described by: y(x, t) = 0.01 sin(4x + 200t + \pi), where all quantities are expressed in SI units. i) Determine values (with appropriate units) for the period, wavelength, and phase velocity of the wave...
  47. K

    Transverse Wave Calculations

    A transverse wave is described by the expression y= 0.05cos(4.19x-1260t). You may assume all measurements are in the correct SI units. A) What is the amplitude of this wave? B) What is the wavelength of this wave? C) How fast is the wave travelling? D) What is the maximum tranverse velocity of...
  48. V

    Help with Transverse Wave Equation

    Homework Statement Two vibrating sources emit waves in the same elastic medium. The first source has a frequency of 25 Hz, while the 2nd source's frequency is 75 Hz. Waves from the first source have a wavelength of 6.0 m. They reflect from a barrier back into the original medium, with an...
  49. S

    Plotting Transverse Wave Pulse: f(x,t) at t=0 & t=2s

    A transvers wave pulse travels to the right (+x direction) along a string with a speed v=3m/s. At t=0, the shape of the pulse has the form: f(x)=Ae^-(x^2/b^2), where A=3m and b=2m. a) Plot the variation of f(x) with x at t=0. b) What will the mathematical description of the pulse as a...