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Waves

Basic wave terms

TermDefinition
Wave Travelling energy
Mechanical wave A wave that needs material to carry it
EM wave A wave that needs nothing to carry it
Transverse wave A wave that disturbs material at right angles to the wave's direction
Compressional (longitudinal) A wave that disturbs material in line with the wave's direction
Seismic wave A wave caused by plate tectonics
Doppler effect The apparent change in the frequency of a wave caused by relative motion between the source of the wave and the observer
Reflection The bouncing of a wave
Refraction The bending of a wave caused by a change in wave velocity because of entering a new medium
Medium Whatever material a wave travels through
Diffraction The bending of a wave around an object or through an opening
Interference When two or more waves overlap
Constructive interference When waves overlap and intensify
Destructive interference When overlapping waves partially cancel each other out
Absorption When an object receives energy from a wave
Created by: McComb PS