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Physical Science

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Distinguish between longitudinal and transverse waves. Do all waves fall into one or the other of these categories? If not, give an example of one that does not?

  • Physical Science -

    In a longitudinal wave the particle displacement is parallel to the direction of wave propagation.
    In a transverse wave the particle displacement is perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation.
    Longitudinal waves can propagate through either solid , fluid and gas media, but transverse waves can propagate only in solids.

    Transverse waves: vibrating guitar string, water waves, doing "the wave" at a stadium
    Longitudinal waves: sound waves

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