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Chapter summary

  • A wave is formed when a continuous number of pulses are transmitted through a medium.

  • A crest is the highest point a particle in the medium rises to.

  • A trough is the lowest point a particle in the medium sinks to.

  • In a transverse wave, the particles move perpendicular to the motion of the wave.

  • The amplitude (\(A\)) is the maximum distance from equilibrium position to a crest (or trough), or the maximum displacement of a particle in a wave from its position of rest.

  • The wavelength (\(λ\)) is the distance between any two adjacent points on a wave that are in phase. It is measured in metres (m).

  • The period (\(T\)) of a wave is the time it takes a wavelength to pass a fixed point. It is measured in seconds (s).

  • The frequency (\(f\)) of a wave is how many waves pass a point in a second. It is measured in hertz (Hz) or s−1.

  • Frequency: \(f = \frac{1}{T}\)

  • Period: \(T = \frac{1}{f}\)

  • Speed: \(v = f·λ\) or \(v = \frac{λ}{T}\).

Table 1: Units used in transverse waves
Physical Quantities
Quantity Unit name Unit symbol
Amplitude (\(A\)) metre m
Wavelength (\(λ\)) metre m
Period (\(T\)) second s
Frequency (\(f\)) hertz Hz (s−1)
Wave speed (\(v\)) metre per second m·s−1