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Chapter 16

PHYSICS 1E03 Chapter 16: Wave Motion

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McMaster University
David Chettle

Chapter 16 – Wave Motion  Propagation of a Disturbance o Two mechanisms: Mechanical waves and electromagnetic radiation, both depend on waves o All mechanical waves require:  A source of disturbance  A medium containing elements that can be disturbed  Some physical mechanism through which elements of the medium can influence each other  Ex: Pulsing on a string:  The hand is the source  The string is the medium  The elements of the string are connected together, so that the wave can move o Pulse exploration first, because waves are simply periodic pulses o Each disturbed element moves in a direction perpendicular to the direction of propagation  No part of the string shown beside ever moves in the direction of propagation.  A traveling wave or pulse that causes the elements of the disturbed medium to move perpendicular to the direction of propagation is called a transverse wave o If the direction of the displacement of the elements is parallel to the direction of propagation of the wave or pulse, it is called a longitudinal wave:  Examples of longitudinal waves are sound waves o Some waves exhibit both transverse and longitudinal wave characteristics:  Surface-water waves o We can represent the transverse position y for all positions and times, measured in a stationary frame with the origin at 0 as: o If the pulse travels left, the transverse positions of elements of the string are described by :  The function y (wave function) depends on two variables: x and t o Note: the wave function represents the y coordinate –the transverse position- of any element located at position x at any time t. If t is fixed, the wave function y(x) ( waveform) defines a curve representing the geometric shape of the pulse at that time  Analysis Model: Traveling Wave o Sinusoidal wave:  The same as that of the function sinθ plotted against θ  Is the simplest example of a periodic continuous wave, can be used to build more complex waves.  The movement is the motion of the wave  Each element moves up and down along the y axis in simple harmonic motion.  Highest displacement: Crest  Lowest displacement : trough  Distance from on crest to another is called the wavelength (λ)  The number of seconds between the arrivals of two adjacent crests at a given point in space is the period (T) of the waves  The inverse of the period is the frequency o f = 1/T o Frequency is measured in cycles per second, or hertz (Hz)  Maximum position of an element in the medium relative to it’s equilibrium position is the amplitude of the wave o The function that describes the positions of the elemnts of the medium through which the s
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