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Vibrations and Waves

Topic Review on "Title":


  • The maximum displacement of the body in vibration.


  • The time taken by a body to complete one vibration.


  • Frequency is the number of oscillations completed in a unit time
  •  (f = 1/T).


  • The natural frequency of a body executing forced vibrations is equal to the input frequency. The body vibrates with maximum amplitude. The frequency is called resonant frequency

Mechanical Wave:

  • A mechanical wave is just a disturbance that propagates through a medium

Electromagnetic Wave:

  • An electromagnetic wave is simply light of a visible or invisible wavelength. Oscillating intertwined electric and magnetic fields comprise light. Light can travel without medium

Transverse Wave:

  • In a transverse wave the particles in the medium move perpendicular to the direction of the wave. Eg. Light waves, waves on strings.

Longitudinal Wave:

  • The particles in the medium move parallel to the direction of the wave. Eg. Sound waves


  • The superposition of two waves of the same frequency and wavelength traveling with a phase difference which remains constant with time. This phenomenon is called interference. The pattern so formed is called interference pattern.

Standing Wave:

  • Superposition of two waves of same amplitude and wavelength moving in opposite direction with no energy propagation.


  • The points of no displacement when standing waves are formed.


  • The points along the medium which vibrate back and forth with maximum displacement.

Rapid Study Kit for "Title":
Flash Movie Flash Game Flash Card
Core Concept Tutorial Problem Solving Drill Review Cheat Sheet

"Title" Tutorial Summary :

Periodic motion likes waves come in many types. Mechanical waves need a medium to travel, electromagnetic waves don’t.  Transverse waves vibrate perpendicular to the wave motion, longitudinal waves parallel.  Even a simple swinging pendulum exhibits wave behavior.  All of these waves can be described in certain ways.  They all have speed, frequency, period, amplitude and wavelength.  Wave can also combine, or superimpose with each other. This phenomena leads to interference.  This can be constructive or destructive interference.  In some situations where there is a boundary to reflect from, this leads to a standing wave that seems to sit in one location.  This creates points of no movement, nodes, and points of maximum movement, antinodes.

Tutorial Features:

Specific Tutorial Features:
• Animations to illustrate the dynamic properties of waves.

Series Features:
• Concept map showing inter-connections of new concepts in this tutorial and those previously introduced.
• Definition slides introduce terms as they are needed.
• Visual representation of concepts
• Animated examples—worked out step by step
• A concise summary is given at the conclusion of the tutorial.

"Title" Topic List:

Simple harmonic motion

Angular frequency
Uniform circular motion
Oscillating springs

Wave motion

Mechanical vs. electromagnetic waves
Transverse vs. longitudinal waves
Wave speed

Wave superposition

Wave reflection
Standing waves
Nodes and antinodes

See all 24 lessons in College Physics, including concept tutorials, problem drills and cheat sheets:
Teach Yourself College Physics Visually in 24 Hours

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