Transverse waves Definition and 13 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. S

    Progressive wave

    The answer is B but I don't understand how. Surely, the string at point P is moving upwards. This video gave a solution but the part that they have indicated as down is a different part of the string and not P.
  2. komarxian

    SHM - Planet Problem

    Homework Statement You are exploring a newly discovered planet. The radius of the planet is 7.20 * 107 m. You suspend a lead weight from the lower end of a light string that is 4.00 m long and has mass 0.0280 kg. You measure that it takes 0.0685 s for a transverse pulse to travel from the...
  3. 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 =...
  4. 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...
  5. S

    Displacement-distance vs Displacement-time graphs for waves

    Hi guys, I'm finding it hard to conceptualise the difference between a displacement-distance and displacement-time graphs for transverse waves. Could somebody explain the difference please?
  6. Ryaners

    Transverse Velocity of Wave, given position & time

    Can't see where I'm going wrong here - would greatly appreciate if anyone can point it out! I've gotten the other parts of the question right, so I know that: ω = 125.66 rad/s A = 2.50 * 10-3m k = 3.49 rad/m The wave is moving in the +x direction. The general equation for the position of a...
  7. pyctz

    Transverse waves moving (a string)

    in transverse wave (traveling pulse) when a particle move down it has maximum velocity at equilibrium point , why it stop suddenly at this point?
  8. L

    How to show that Electric and Magnetic fields are transverse

    Homework Statement This isn't necessarily a problem, but a question I have about a certain step taken in showing that the electric and magnetic fields are transverse. In Jackson, Griffiths, and my professor's written notes, each claims the following. Considering plane wave solutions of the...
  9. Peter Jackson

    Computer simulation of seismic waves

    Hello, I am working in Papua New Guinea where there is a great deal of seismic activity. I am interested in using MS Excel for simulation of SHM due to seismic waves. To investigate the how frequency and wavelength of the waves affects buildings. Does anyone have any experience of this type of...
  10. N

    Transverse wave in a string

    Homework Statement [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.
  11. Bassa

    Transvese Velocity of a Standing Wave

    λ∂Homework Statement Aguitar string lies along the x-axis when in equilibrium. The end of the string at x=0 (the bridge of the guitar) is fixed. A sinusoidal wave with amplitude A=0.750 mm and frequency f =440 Hz, corresponding to the red curves in Fig. 15.24, travels along the string in the...
  12. F

    Wave Speed at the top, bottom, and middle of a Hanging Cord

    Homework Statement A hanging cord is attached to a fixed support at the top and is 78.0m long. It is stretched taut by a weight with mass 21.0kg attached at the lower end. The mass of the cord is 2.20kg . A device at the bottom oscillates the cord by tapping it sideways (Do not neglect the...
  13. R

    Frequency, transverse waves, low-pitch strings

    Homework Statement Two identical guitar strings are stretched with the same tension between supports that are not the same distance apart. The fundamental frequency of the higher-pitched string is 380Hz, and the speed of transverse waves in both wires is 200 m/s. How much longer is the...