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a disturbance that transfers energy from one place to another


lowest point (valley) of a wave


highest point (peak) of a wave


for transverse waves: the distance between the resting point (or equilibrium) to the crest or trough


the number of waves passing a fixed point in a certain amount of time; it is based partly on wavelength (longer wavelengths take a longer time to pass) and partly on the speed the wave travels


any substance that a wave moves through

mechanical wave

waves that transfer energy through matter


the distance from one wave crest to the very next crest. (This may also be measured from trough to trough.)


the bouncing back of a wave as it strikes a barrier


the bending of a wave as it enters a new medium at an angle other than 90 degrees


the spreading out of waves through an opening or around the edges of an obstacle


the meeting and combining of waves

destructive interference

when waves cancel each other out

constructive interference

when waves combine to a larger amplitude

2 relationships for waves

1) speed and frequency = directly proportional
(as speed goes up, frequency goes up)
2) wavelength and frequency = inversely proportional
(as wavelength gets longer, frequency goes down)

reflection examples

mirror (light waves), echo (sound waves), RADAR (radio waves)

refraction examples

a straw looks "broken" when you look at it in a glass of water (because the light bends when it enters the water)

diffraction examples

light will bend around a lampshade; sounds can be heard even if you are hiding behind something

EM Wave

electromagnetic wave; moves energy through space (sometimes empty space, sometimes through a medium)

Examples of EM Waves

Radio, infrared (IR), light

Examples of mechanical waves

Sound, ocean waves, earthquakes

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