Transverse waves

Wave in three dimensionsSpace is three dimensional and waves can cause oscillations in all three dimensions as well as scalar oscillations that have no direction. How a wave oscillates relative to its direction of motion is one important way to classify waves. To explain this we define the forward dimension as the direction the wave moves. The other two dimensions—up–down and left–right—are both perpendicular to the direction the wave moves. Read the text aloud
Transverse wavesA transverse wave causes oscillations perpendicular to the forward direction the wave moves. Waves in a stretched string are transverse waves because the wave moves along the string and the oscillations are up and down, perpendicular to the line of the string. Light is also a transverse wave, although the explanation for why will have to wait until Chapter 22 when we discuss electric and magnetic fields. Read the text aloud Show Particle motion within a water wave
Transverse wavesA spring can be used to create transverse waves. Shaking a long spring up and down versus side to side demonstrates the property of polarization that is common to all transverse waves. Polarization describes the direction of the oscillation in a plane perpendicular to the direction the wave moves. A transverse wave has a polarization because there are two directions perpendicular to the motion of the wave. For example, a wave on a spring moving in the z-direction could be polarized in the horizontal x-direction, the vertical y-direction, or any other direction in between. Read the text aloud

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