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AP Physics 1

Chapters 11-12

Amplitude The amplitude of a wave is the maximum displacement of a particle of the medium from the rest position. As the amplitude of light wave increases the light gets brighter As the amplitude of a sound wave increases the sound gets louder
Angle of Incidence The angle at which an incident light ray or other wave strikes the surface of a medium measured relative to a normal (perpendicular) to the surface. The angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection.
Angle of Reflection The angle at which a light ray or other wave is reflected from the surface of a medium measured relative to a normal (perpendicular) surface. The angle of reflection is always equal to the angle of incidence.
Angle of Refraction The angle at which a light ray or other wave is refracted from the surface of a medium measured relative to a normal (perpendicular) to the surface.
Destructive Interference The effect of combining two waves in which the wave displacements act in opposite directions. The wave crests work against each other as do the wave troughs. The amplitude of the combined wave is the less than the amplitudes of the two original waves.
Diffraction The spreading or bending of a wave into a region behind an obstacle.
Doppler Effect The variation in observed frequency caused by the relative motion between a source and a receiver. Observed frequency decreases when the distance between the source and the receiver increases. Changes in sound frequency are observed as changes in pitch
Frequency The number of vibrations occurring per unit of time. The frequency of a wave is inversely proportional to its period: f=1/T. The hertz (Hz) is the SI unit of frequency . It is a derived unit: 1 hertz=1 cycle/second
Hertz(Hz) The SI unit of frequency. It is a derived unit: 1 hertz = 1 cycle/second.
Interference The effect produced by two or more waves passing simultaneously through a region. Patterns of constructive and destructive interference depend on the nature of the combining waves.
Longitudinal Wave The vibrating disturbance in a longitudinal wave is parallel to the direction of travel of the wave. For example sound waves are longitudinal.
Mechanical Wave A wave that requires a material medium to carry the wave energy, such as sound and water waves.
Medium A material though which a disturbance travels. For example sound waves travel through air, which is a medium.
Natural Frequency The frequency at which an elastic object vibrates when it is disturbed in some way for example when it is struck or plucked.
Node A point or line on a standing wave where there is almost no vibration. Maximum destructive interference occurs at the nodes.
Normal A reference line drawn perpendicular to a surface. Normals are frequently used as a reference from which angles of incidence angles of reflection and angles of refraction are measured.
Period The time required for the completion of a single vibration or event of a periodic phenomena such as a periodic wave or an orbit. The second (s) is the SI unit for period of a wave. The period is the reciprocal of the frequency of a wave; T=1/f
Periodic Wave A series of regular(evenly timed) disturbances in a medium.
Phase(Wave) Points on a single periodic wave having the same displacement from the equilibrium position and moving in the same direction are said to be in phase.
Pulse A single vibratory disturbance that moves from point to point. In a uniform medium a pulse has a constant speed which depends on the type and properties of the medium.
Reflected Ray When an incident ray strikes a surface the light ray that is reflected from it is called the reflected ray. The angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence.
Reflection The bounce of a wave such as a light or sound off a surface
Refraction The charge in direction of a wave that occurs when the wave passes at an angle through a boundary between two different media ans across which there is a change in speed.
Resonance Vibrations in an object's natural frequency caused by a wave with the same frequency. Most vibrating systems will vibrate at a particular frequency if disturbed. If they are excited at the resonant frequency the amplitude will increase.
Sound Mechanical longitudinal waves in air and other media set up by vibrating bodies.
Standing Wave Produced when two waves of the same frequency and amplitude travel in opposite directions in the same medium. A standing wave does not travel (hence its name); instead it oscillates about an equilibrium position.
Superposition A combination of two or more wave displacements to produce a resultant displacement. The resultant displacement at any point is the algebraic sum of displacements due to individual waves.
Sympathetic Vibrations The resonance effect when an object is forced to vibrate at one of its natural frequencies usually by another vibrating object.
Transverse Wave The vibrating disturbance of a transverse wave is perpendicular to the direction of travel of the wave. For example light waves are transverse.
Wave A vibratory disturbance that propagates through a material, called medium or space. Wave motion transfers energy from one point to another with no transfer of mass between the points.
Wave Charactertistics The properties of waves that define their behavior such as period frequency, amplitude and wavelength.
Wave Front The locus of adjacent points of the wave which are in phase.
Wavelength Wavelength(λ) of a periodic wave is the distance between 2 consecutive points in phase. Wavelength can be measured from 1 point on a wave to an identical point on the same wave. The speed of a wave is v=fλ
Created by: BMcCormack