What is Transverse waves: Definition and 68 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.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. Delta2

    I Are spherical transverse waves exact solutions to Maxwell's equations?

    In this paper in NASA https://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/mmishchenko/publications/2004_kluwer_mishchenko.pdf it claims (at page 38) that the defined spherical waves (12.4,12.5) are solutions of Maxwell's equations in the limit ##kr\to\infty##. I tried to work out the divergence and curl of...
  2. C

    Please help me understand how transverse waves reflect at a boundary

    Hello, I am a student who is trying to learn some physics independently so I apologize in advance if I am not making sense. I have studied physics a bit in school but nothing very rigorous and it is a subject that I have trouble with, especially waves. This is what I have been reading...
  3. S

    Progressive Wave: Solve Puzzle at Point P

    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.
  4. komarxian

    SHM: Planet Problem Homework Statement

    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...
  5. 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 =...
  6. Kaneki123

    B A Question about transverse waves....

    Okay...I have a question that, is it possible for a transverse waves to only consists of crests and not troughs (or vice versa)??..Like is it possible for the particles of the medium to only displace upwards from mean position , and not downwards?Any help is appreciated...
  7. 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...
  8. B

    Longitudinal and Transverse waves transmitting at same Veloc

    Homework Statement A picture of the problem can be found here: https://gyazo.com/a92447dcfebed53d4cbd12fc94300d9c[/B] Homework Equations So, I've already finished part A. For part B, I'm trying to figure out how to equate the two with mass on either side of the equation so that I can solve for...
  9. 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?
  10. N

    Transverse waves and the movement of particles

    Homework Statement Alright, this problem has been driving me into a confused rage. The wave is moving in an upward direction so particle A should be moving up as well, right? But every single website I've used to study claims that it's moving in a downward direction. How? Homework Equations...
  11. B

    Why can’t transverse waves travel through a gas or liquid?

    Homework Statement Why can’t transverse waves travel through a gas or liquid? Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution I understand that transverse waves require rigid medium through which to transfer their energy so they can travel through solids. I'll just accept that transverse waves...
  12. 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...
  13. 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?
  14. kelvin490

    Question about force in transverse waves on a string

    In deriving wave equation or power transmission of wave transmitted by a string, it is usually stated (with some assumptions) that the transverse force on a point of the string is proportional to the slope at that point. An example is given in p.20 of this notes...
  15. A

    Wave function for transverse waves on a rope

    Homework Statement Serway's Physics for Sciencetists and Engineers with Modern Physics, 9th Edition (current), Chapter 16, problem 19:[/B] (a) Write the expression for y as a function of x and t in SI units for a sinusoidal wave traveling along a rope in the negative x direction with the...
  16. 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...
  17. 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...
  18. Emily_20

    Transverse waves on string

    Homework Statement A new musical instrument is fashioned from a metal can of length L and diameter L/10, open at one end, with a string stretched across the diameter of the open end. The string is tensioned such that the 3rd harmonic frequency of the vibrating string matches the fundamental...
  19. S

    Rank Wave Functions by Speed: IV, I, II=III, III

    Homework Statement 8. Four wave functions are given below. Rank them in order of the magnitude of the wave speeds, from least to greatest. I. y(x,t) = 5sin(4x − 20t + 4) II. y(x,t) = 5sin(3x −12t + 5) III. y(x,t) = 5cos(4x + 24t + 6) IV. y(x,t) =14cos(2x − 8t + 3) (A) IV, II, I, III (B) IV =...
  20. 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.
  21. 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...
  22. 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...
  23. jonny23

    Transverse waves oscillation direction

    Homework Statement A transverse wave travels along x-axis . what is direction of oscillation of particles ? Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution I think the answer is xy plane but Wikipedia says its yz plane . Please explain how?
  24. 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...
  25. S

    Standing waves: can two transverse waves colliding have diff. fq, or amplitude?

    Do all standing waves have to have the same frequency and amplitude?
  26. D

    Speed of transverse waves

    Homework Statement my working is as in the photo which is v=f X wavelength = 0.4 X 0.04= 0.16 ... but the ans given is 0.10m/s Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution
  27. N

    The velocity of transverse waves on a string

    1. A violin string is 35 cm long between its fixed ends and has a mass of 2.0g. The string sounds the note A4 (440 Hz) when played. Homework Equations v=\sqrt{}F/ρ The Attempt at a Solution I calculated ρ, mass per unit length, to be .0057 kg/m but do not know how to find the...
  28. M

    Self-Teaching SHM: Transverse Waves & Variables

    So, I have to self-teach myself part of my class. However, there's one part of my book I can't understad at all. First, I would like to understand, why does a transverse motion has 3 variable, y,x, and t . In my book they give the explanation y=h(x,t) and when we find the formula of the...
  29. Saxby

    Transverse waves, sin and cos

    Why do some wave equations use sinθ and others cosθ? Does it make a difference when calculating properties such as wavelength and wave number? For example: y(x,t) = Asin(ωt+kx) y(x,t) = Acos(ωt+kx)
  30. R

    Velocity of Transverse Waves problem

    Homework Statement Two children are sending signals along a cord of total mass 0.54 kg tied between tin cans with a tension of 37 N. It takes the vibrations in the string 0.53 s to go from one child to the other. How far apart are the children? Express your answer using two significant...
  31. M

    Tension in a ropa to form transverse waves

    Homework Statement With what tension must a rope with length 2.20m and mass 0.100kg be stretched for transverse waves of frequency 43.0Hz to have a wavelength of 0.700m? Homework Equations No idea The Attempt at a Solution I am completely oblivious as to where to start this...
  32. Z

    What is the difference between standing waves and transverse waves?

    I always hear a difference between transverse and longitudinal waves, and, standing and traveling waves, but for me, transverse and standing waves looks very similar; and i can't seem to find out what is the difference. Both has nodes and antinodes, thus the change in amplitude as you go...
  33. 3

    Transverse waves on pulley - question

    Homework Statement 1) an aluminium wire, of length L1 = 60.0 cm, cross sectional area 1.00 x 10^-2 cm^2, and density 2.60 g/cm^3, is joined to a steel wire of length L2, of density 7.80 g/cm^3 and the same cross sectional area. The compound wire, loaded with a block of mass m = 10.0 kg, is...
  34. Biosyn

    Solving Part 6(c): Speed of Transverse Waves on String

    Homework Statement Problem is part 6 (c) on page 9 of pdf file. lodischool.tripod.com/dovesol/DOVE98SOL.pdf Google quick view...
  35. Spinnor

    Why are electromagnetic waves transverse waves? Is this answer ok?

    From: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090223155307AAgqbWk Question: Why are electromagnetic waves transverse waves? Answer: "Because they are generated by the rapid vibration of elecrons, which go side to side, perpendicular to the direction the waves travel (very very rapid...
  36. S

    Propagation Velocity of Transverse Waves

    A steel wire of radius 0.65 mm is subject to a tension of 11.29 N. Steel has a volume mass density of 7800 kg/m3. Find the velocity of propagation of transverse waves on this wire, in m/s. I found the cross sectional area of the wire but I am not sure where to go from there. I know I need...
  37. A

    Longitudinal and transverse waves

    Longitudinal and transverse waves... Homework Statement A string is stretched so that its length is increased by 1/n of its original length. The ratio of fundamental frequency of transverse vibration to that of fundamental frequency of longitudinal vibration will be? Homework Equations...
  38. B

    Rewriting Equation 15: Two Transverse Waves Moving in Opposite Directions

    Homework Statement Show that the solution to the wave equation, Equation 15, can be rewritten as the sum of two transverse waves moving in opposite directions along the wire. Equation 15:y(x,t) = A(sin(2*pi*f*x)/v))*cos(2*pi*f*t) Homework Equations Superposition: y(x,t) =...
  39. M

    [2 problems] Transverse Waves, Superpostion & Reflection

    Question 1 1. Homework Statement The drawing shows a snapshot of a transverse wave traveling along a string at 9.6 m/s. The equation for the wave is y(x, t) = A cos(ωt + kx). At what times could this snapshot have been taken? (Give the three smallest nonnegative possibilities.) The Attempt...
  40. B

    Calculating Energy of Two Transverse Waves

    Homework Statement Two transverse waves are on the same piece of string. The first has non-zero displacement only for kx + wt between pi and 2pi when it is equal to Asin(kx+wt). The second has y=Asin(kx-wt) for kx-wt between -2pi and -pi and is zero otherwise. Calculate the energy of the...
  41. R

    Transverse Waves: Why Are They Known as Shear Waves?

    [b]1. why are transverse waves known as shear waves?
  42. K

    Sound waves propagated as transverse waves

    hello can somebody tell me why sound waves can't be propagated as transverse waves? thanks in advance
  43. R

    Transverse Waves: Why They Can't Travel Through Liquids

    Why transverse waves cannot travel through liquids ?
  44. P

    Transverse waves in the ocean

    Hi, a search on google will reveal that an ocean wave is both transverse, and longitudinal. Another search will also reveal that a transverse wave cannot propagate through a liquid. One of these statements is not quite right, is it that water is a special case liquid that can propagate...
  45. R

    Longitudinal and transverse waves

    hey friends please solve my problem Both longitudinal and transverse waves can propagate through a solid. A wave on the surface of a liquid can involve both longitudinal and transverse motion of elements of the medium. On the other hand, a wave propagating through the volume of a fluid must be...
  46. R

    Transverse waves can propagate through a solid

    Hey my friends please solve my problem Both longitudinal and transverse waves can propagate through a solid. A wave on the surface of a liquid can involve both longitudinal and transverse motion of elements of the medium. On the other hand, a wave propagating through the volume of a fluid must...
  47. 3

    Light: Transverse Waves or Photons?

    I heard that transverse wave can not travel trough gas and liquid then how can light travel through all the way to earth? Is it because the light is the collection of small energy particles called photon and not just behave as the normal waves?
  48. M

    Transverse Wave: Amplitude, Wavelength, Speed & Direction

    The transverse displacement of an harmonic wave on a stretched rope is y = 0.04 cos(2.5 x - 5 t), where x and y are in meters and t is in seconds. a) What is the amplitude of this wave? A = m * .04 OK b) What is the wavelength of this wave? c) What is the speed with which this...
  49. S

    Tension, Linear Mass Density, and transverse waves

    Not 100% sure if this is supposed to be in Math or Physics...Admin please move if it is wrong...? Homework Statement A long string under tension t having linear mass density u1 is tied to a second string with linear mass density u2 << u1. Transverse waves on the heavey string are incident...
  50. W

    Calculate Tension in Transverse Wave on String: Linear Density 1.87x10-2kg/m

    A transverse wave is traveling on a string. The displacement y of a particle from its equilibrium position is given by y = (0.0221 m) sin (28.9t - 2.20x). Note that the phase angle 28.9t - 2.20x is in radians, t is in seconds, and x is in meters. The linear density of the string is 1.87 x 10-2...