What is wave in physics & types of waves physics


hello, students today we know about the wave and some related definitions here. topic covered here: -what is wave in physics, types of a wave in physics, what is a wavelength in physics, frequency definition physics, what is wavelength and frequency, characteristics of waves, mechanical waves and example of mechanical wave, longitudinal wave, transverse wave.

what is wave in physics:-

                     what is waveform in physics


           The oscillatory behavior of a particle due to perturbation/disturbance results in the formation of a wave. A common example of a wave is a wave on the ocean – we know they carry energy, as they cause erosion on the shore, but the material (i. e. , water) is not continuously being transferred onto the shore. Main components of waveforms are below,


Time or

Wavelength (distance)

Period (time) I/Frequency


Frequency (f)– the number of cycles per second, measured in Hertz (Hz).

Period (P) – The time it takes for one complete wave to pass a given point, measured in seconds (the reciprocal of frequency (l/f)).

Wavelength– the length/distance between adjacent crests, measured in meters.

Amplitude (A)– the height of the wave. Equal to the (maximum-minimum)/2. For sound, this is measured in decibels (dB) or pascals (Pa).

Propagation velocity (C)– how fast the wave is moving in the specific medium.

Propagation velocity is dependent on the medium and is related to the stiffness of the medium.

Speed: the horizontal speed of a point on a wave as it propagates, measured in meters / second.

Waves can be classified mainly into two types :

  1. Mechanical Waves:
  2. Electromagnetic Waves:


Electromagnetic Waves:

  • Light
  • Infrared
  • X-rays
  • Radio waves

Mechanical waves:

  • Longitudinal
  • Waves
  • Transverse
  • Waves
  • Water

Mechanical Waves are waves which propagate through a material medium (solid, liquid, or gas) at a wave speed which depends on the elastic and inertial properties of that medium.


The wave motion is one of the most important methods of transferring energy. Various forms of energies such as light, heat, sound, X-ray radiation, wireless, etc. are transmitted by wave motion. A wave motion can be defined as a disturbance which travels in the material medium and is due to the repeated periodic motion of the medium particles about their mean positions, the motion being handed on from one particle to the next after regular interval of time.

The propagation of the wave motion can take place only in the mediums which have the following properties:

(a) Elasticity: The medium must possess elasticity i.e. the medium particle must have a tendency to return to its original position after being displaced.

(b) Inertia: The medium must have inertia i.e., it must have the capacity to store energy.

(c) Little frictional resistance: The medium must have only a very small frictional

resistance to avoid dissipation of energy i.e., the frictional resistance should not be as large so as to cause damped vibrations of the medium particle.

There are two basic types of wave motion for mechanical waves:

Longitudinal waves

Transverse waves.

  • Longitudinal Wave:

  • A wave motion in which the particles of the medium vibrate about their mean position along the same line as that of propagation of the wave. Even though there are in the same direction, it is important to note that the particle does not move with the wave, it merely oscillates in the same direction.

i.e. sound waves

In case of longitudinal waves, the medium particles periodically approach or recede from one another forming alternate compressions and rarefactions in the medium.

 Examples of Longitudinal Wave:-

  • Compression
  • Compression
  • Rarefaction
  • Wavelength

Transverse Waves:

A wave motion in which the particle of the medium vibrates about their mean position at a right angle to the direction of propagation of the wave. It is important to understand that individual particles do not move from the there original position on the horizontal axis, they merely oscillate vertically.

i.e. electromagnetic waves, waves on strings.

Example of Transveræ Wave:-

  • Diren of Transport


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