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Transverse and Longitudinal Wave Animations


1-1. Transverse Wave:

Figure 1-1. Transverse wave: The medium moves only up and down while the wave moves to the right. Note that the small black square moving with the medium always stays at x =5, but it goes up and down as the wave goes by. Follow the wave motion by examining the same crest in each figure. A crest at the left end might initially be at x =0, while a bit later it is at x = 6, and finally has moved almost to x=12 even later.


1-2. Longitudinal Wave:

Figure 1-2. Longitudinal wave: The medium motion is shown by the circled dot. It moves back and forth around x =5 , but makes no net progress. The wave motion is followed by noting how a density crest (a group of particles close together) moves from left to right. Note a density crest near, say, x = 1 at one time moves to the right until it includes the circled dot at x = 5 at a slightly later time and then moves on past to x = 10 still later.

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© William J. Mullin