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Waves Vocabulary

TermDefinition
Waves disturbances that repeat the same cycle of motion and transfer energy through matter or empty space
Mechanical waves waves that require a medium. Transfers energy as the particles in the medium move (vibrate) up and down or back and forth as the wave travels through it
Electromagnetic waves waves that are capable of transporting energy through the vacuum of outer space. Produced by a vibrating electric charge (consist of both an electric and a magnetic component)
Wavelength distance between two consecutive crests or troughs of a wave
Amplitude distance from rest to crest or rest to trough (maximum amount of displacement of a particle on the medium from its rest position)
Frequency number of complete waves, or cycles of oscillation, in a given period of time; unit is Hertz (equal to one wave per second)
Period time it takes to complete one full cycle
Speed measures how fast a wave is moving
Photons tiny packets of energy
Reflection when a wave hits an object that it cannot pass through or reaches the boundary of the medium of transmission; the return of the wave as it bounces off the object or medium boundary
Refraction wave passes from one medium into another at an angle and bends (changes direction) due to a change in speed
Diffraction wave passes through a hole or moves past a barrier and spreads out in the region beyond the hole or barrier
Interference when two or more waves arrive at the same point at the same time. (Waves combine to produce a single wave with different properties from the original waves)
Constructive Interference where interfering waves have a displacement in the same direction resulting in a larger amplitude
Destructive Interference where interfering waves have a displacement in the opposite direction resulting in a smaller amplitude
Doppler Effect phenomenon of a change in the observed frequency of a wave, sound or light, that occurs when the source and observer are in motion relative to each other
Crest highest point within a cycle of a wave
Trough lowest point within a cycle of a wave
Hertz unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second
Longitudinal wave wave in which the particles of the medium are displaced in a direction parallel to the direction of energy transport
Medium matter a wave travels through (solid, liquid, or gas)
Pitch distinctive quality of a sound, dependent primarily on the frequency of the sound waves produced by its source
Transverse wave wave in which the particles of the medium are displaced in a direction perpendicular to the direction of energy transport
Compression point on a medium through which a longitudinal wave is traveling that has the maximum density (region where the coils are pressed together in a small amount of space)
Rarefaction point on a medium through which a longitudinal wave is traveling that has the minimum density (region where the coils are spread apart, maximizing the distance between coils)
Electromagnetic Spectrum continuous range of frequencies that electromagnetic waves exist. The longer wavelength, lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength, higher frequency regions are on the far right
Radio waves electromagnetic waves that have the longest wavelengths, lowest frequency, and least amount of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum
Microwaves electromagnetic waves found at the higher frequency end of the radio waves on the electromagnetic spectrum
Infrared Waves electromagnetic waves just beyond the visible spectrum of light
Visible Light Waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see
Ultraviolet Waves electromagnetic waves that have shorter wavelengths than visible light
X-rays electromagnetic waves that have higher energy and much shorter wavelengths than ultraviolet light
Gamma Rays electromagnetic waves that have the smallest wavelengths and the most energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum
Created by: LizardMogg