19 terms

Wave Vocabulary

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wave
a disturbance involving the transfer of energy from place to place
energy
ability to do work
medium
the material through which a wave travels
mechanical waves
waves that require a medium
vibration
repeated back and forth or up and down motion
transverse wave
a wave that vibrates the medium at right angles or perpendicular to the direction in which the wave travels
crest
high point on a transverse wave
trough
low point on a transverse wave
longitudinal wave
vibrates the meduim in the same direction in which the wave travels
compression
particles are close together on a longitudinal wave
rarefaction
particles are far apart on a longitudinal wave
amplitude
the maximum distance the medium vibrates from the rest position
wavelength
the distance between two corresponding parts of a wave
frequency
number of waves that pass a point in a certain amount of time
hertz
number of waves per second, unit used to measure frequency (Hz)
wave speed
distance a wave travels in a given amount of time (s = f x w)
reflection
waves bounced back after hitting a barrier
refraction
bending of waves due to change in speed
diffraction
the bending or spreading of waves as they move around a barrier or pass through an opening