# Transverse vs. Longitudinal Waves

## 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

## Answers and Replies

Related Introductory Physics Homework Help News on Phys.org
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]

Last edited by a moderator: