1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Longitudinal and transverse waves

  1. May 29, 2009 #1
    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 purely longitudinal, not transverse. Why?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2009 #2
    I think because in the 'bulk' of the fluid there's no restoring force except to the compression -- hence longitudinal wave. At the surface because there's an interface, there's a restoring force that can support transverse oscillation to the direction of propagation.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook