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Sound waves and EM Waves

  1. Apr 14, 2015 #1
    Which of the following of a wave can be affected by the medium it travels through?

    (i) wave crest velocity, (ii) wave frequency, (iii) wavelength
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2015 #2
    For sound waves, once a wave has been initiated in whatever medium, it's frequency and wavelength should not change.
    'Wave crest velocity' - do you mean the wave height, - it's amplitude?
    That will decrease as the wave disperses from it's point of origin, it will do that in any medium.
    A medium which is more viscous will absorb energy in the wave more quickly (more viscous = more friction), so the wave amplitude will therefore diminish more quickly.

    I'm pretty sure the same principle applies with EM waves, other than noting that EM waves can propagate without any medium.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  4. Apr 14, 2015 #3

    RUber

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    Homework Helper

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave
    You can see on the linked page that velocity is affected by medium. So the question is, which of (ii) or (iii) is not?
    Normally frequency stays the same.
    Wavelength is the distance covered by the wave in one period, so that would clearly be impacted if the velocity changed.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2015 #4

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Guys, please do not respond to schoolwork-type questions in the general technical forums. Please instead click the Report button on OPs like this, so that the Mentors can help the newbies to find and use the Homework Help forums correctly.
     
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