Transverse wave examples

A wave is described as a disturbance that travels through a medium from one location to another location. The path of a wave reflects the forward movement of energy; there is no movement of matter. The medium only moves up and down in transverse waves. (back and forth in longitudinal waves). The energy expresses itself in crests and troughs, with wavelength defining the space between any two crests or troughs.

A transverse wave is a wave in which particles of the medium, if any, move in a direction perpendicular to the direction that the wave moves. Transverse waves are always characterized by particle motion being perpendicular to wave motion.

Here the formation of crest and trough takes place. The polarization of transverse wave is possible.

For example if a wave moves in x direction then the oscillations will occur in the y’z plane as shown in the figure above.

Waves in the ocean represent transverse waves impacting their medium perpendicular to their direction of travel. Ocean waves travel on the surface of water, forcing the water down along their path. A boat in a sea just bobs up and down when there are waves and does not carried by the waves.

Electromagnetic wave is another example of a transverse wave. Periodic changes takes place in electric and magnetic fields. Light waves travel across the electromagnetic spectrum, at right angles to vibrating electrical and magnetic fields.

There are various examples of transverse waves. They are:

  1. light wave is an example of transverse wave.
  2. The audience wave is an example of transverse wave.
  3. The secondary as well as magnetic waves are an example of transverse wave.
  4. Radio waves are also transverse waves.
  5. Television waves are transverse waves.
  6. In gas and liquid the sound waves are transverse waves.
  7. Surface waves are transverse waves.
  8. The visible light waves are transverse waves.
  9. Water wave is a transverse wave.
  10. S- waves are transverse waves
  11. Ultraviolet waves travel as transverse waves.
  12. The vibrating guitar strings are also an example of transverse waves.
  13. Doing the ‘wave’ at the stadium is another example.
  14. Gamma rays are another example.
  15. The x rays are also electromagnetic as well as transverse in nature.
  16. The radio and microwave is example of transverse waves.
  17. Heat is an example of transverse wave.

Electromagnetic waves – radio, TV, cell-phones, light, X-rays, gamma rays, etc etc.

If these are not ‘real-world’ enough for you, try tieing one end of a long rope to a post or a hook on a wall, and then hold the other end of the rope tightly so the rope stretches horizontally between you and the post (without touching the ground in between). Now move your hand holding the end of the rope, up and down. What do you see? A wave of motion runs along the rope from your hand to the post (and on eve there should reflect back towards you) – that is a transverse wave. Waves on a guitar or violin string are just such transverse waves, but their motion is too fast for you to see properly. The sound they make gets to you through the air via longitudinal waves. Since the air cannot propagate the shear motion of a transverse wave. However sound in a solid medium tends to be a complex mixture of longitudinal, transverse, and coupling the two.

Waves on the surface of the see look like transverse waves – the sea surface moves up and down whilst the wave propagates horizontally – but in fact they are a combined transverse & longitudinal wave: the water actually moves in a sort of elliptical motion in the plane of the vertical direction & the horizontal direction of the wave propagation.