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any disturbance that transmits energy through matter or space


a substance through which a wave can travel

transverse waves

waves in which particles vibrate with an up-and-down motion (moving across)

longitudinal waves

waves in which particles of the medium vibrate back and forth along the path that the wave travels


a section of a longitudinal wave where particles are crowded together


a section of a longitudinal wave where particles are less crowded than normal


the highest point of a transverse wave


the lowest point between each crest of a transverse wave

surface waves

a combination of transverse waves and longitudinal waves


the maximum distance the wave vibrates from its rest position


the number of waves produced in a given amount of time

wave length

the distance between any two adjacent crests or compressions in a series of waves

wave speed

the speed at which the wave travels


occurs when a wave bounces back after striking a barrier


the bending of a wave as it passes at an angle from one medium to another


the bending of waves around a barrier or through an opening


the result of two or more waves overlapping

standing wave

a wave that forms a stationary pattern in which portions of the wave are at the rest position due to total destructive interference and other portions have large amplitude due to constructive interference


when an object vibrating at or near the resonant frequency of a second object causes the second object to vibrate

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