Transverse vs. Longitudinal Waves

• vivekfan
In summary, the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves lies in the direction of movement of the medium particles. In transverse waves, the particles move perpendicular to the direction of wave travel, while in longitudinal waves, the particles move parallel to the direction of wave travel. Examples of transverse waves include light waves and moving a string up and down, while examples of longitudinal waves include sound waves. It is important to note that water waves can exhibit both transverse and longitudinal motion.

Homework Statement

Please explain the difference and try to give examples. I know that the displacement of the medium in a transverse wave is perpendicular to the direction of wave travel and in longitudinal is parallel to the direction of wave travel, but does this mean that transverse waves only travel from left to right?

Homework Equations

Conceptual question

The Attempt at a Solution

I was going to write out the definitions and some examples, but I'll be lazy and just link you to wikipedia, because they seem to handle this question quite well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transverse_wave" [Broken]: consists of 'particles' moving perpendicular to the direction the energy is moving in ("transverse wave is moving in the positive x-direction, its oscillations are in up and down directions that lie in the y-z plane"). Examples: light waves or moving a string up and down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitudinal_wave" [Broken]: the 'particles' are moving parallel to the direction of energy. Examples: sound

Water waves are both transverse and longitudinal.

This sight has some nice pictures too: http://www.kettering.edu/~drussell/Demos/waves/wavemotion.html [Broken]

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