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Praveen Srivastava Group

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Fedor Nesterov
Fedor Nesterov

Waves [HOT]

In physics, mathematics, and related fields, a wave is a propagating dynamic disturbance (change from equilibrium) of one or more quantities. Waves can be periodic, in which case those quantities oscillate repeatedly about an equilibrium (resting) value at some frequency. When the entire waveform moves in one direction, it is said to be a traveling wave; by contrast, a pair of superimposed periodic waves traveling in opposite directions makes a standing wave. In a standing wave, the amplitude of vibration has nulls at some positions where the wave amplitude appears smaller or even zero. Waves are often described by a wave equation (standing wave field of two opposite waves) or a one-way wave equation for single wave propagation in a defined direction.


Two types of waves are most commonly studied in classical physics. In a mechanical wave, stress and strain fields oscillate about a mechanical equilibrium. A mechanical wave is a local deformation (strain) in some physical medium that propagates from particle to particle by creating local stresses that cause strain in neighboring particles too. For example, sound waves are variations of the local pressure and particle motion that propagate through the medium. Other examples of mechanical waves are seismic waves, gravity waves, surface waves and string vibrations. In an electromagnetic wave (such as light), coupling between the electric and magnetic fields which sustains propagation of a wave involving these fields according to Maxwell's equations. Electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum and through some dielectric media (at wavelengths where they are considered transparent). Electromagnetic waves, according to their frequencies (or wavelengths) have more specific designations including radio waves, infrared radiation, terahertz waves, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.

A physical wave field is almost always confined to some finite region of space, called its domain. For example, the seismic waves generated by earthquakes are significant only in the interior and surface of the planet, so they can be ignored outside it. However, waves with infinite domain, that extend over the whole space, are commonly studied in mathematics, and are very valuable tools for understanding physical waves in finite domains.

A plane wave is an important mathematical idealization where the disturbance is identical along any (infinite) plane normal to a specific direction of travel. Mathematically, the simplest wave is a sinusoidal plane wave in which at any point the field experiences simple harmonic motion at one frequency. In linear media, complicated waves can generally be decomposed as the sum of many sinusoidal plane waves having different directions of propagation and/or different frequencies. A plane wave is classified as a transverse wave if the field disturbance at each point is described by a vector perpendicular to the direction of propagation (also the direction of energy transfer); or longitudinal wave if those vectors are aligned with the propagation direction. Mechanical waves include both transverse and longitudinal waves; on the other hand electromagnetic plane waves are strictly transverse while sound waves in fluids (such as air) can only be longitudinal. That physical direction of an oscillating field relative to the propagation direction is also referred to as the wave's polarization, which can be an important attribute.

Sometimes one is interested in a single specific wave. More often, however, one needs to understand large set of possible waves; like all the ways that a drum skin can vibrate after being struck once with a drum stick, or all the possible radar echos one could get from an airplane that may be approaching an airport.

Sometimes the family of waves of interest has infinitely many parameters. For example, one may want to describe what happens to the temperature in a metal bar when it is initially heated at various temperatures at different points along its length, and then allowed to cool by itself in vacuum. In that case, instead of a scalar or vector, the parameter would have to be a function h \displaystyle h such that h ( x ) \displaystyle h(x) is the initial temperature at each point x \displaystyle x of the bar. Then the temperatures at later times can be expressed by a function F \displaystyle F that depends on the function h \displaystyle h (that is, a functional operator), so that the temperature at a later time is F ( h ; x , t ) \displaystyle F(h;x,t)

Plane waves are often used to model electromagnetic waves far from a source. For electromagnetic plane waves, the electric and magnetic fields themselves are transverse to the direction of propagation, and also perpendicular to each other.

A standing wave, also known as a stationary wave, is a wave whose envelope remains in a constant position. This phenomenon arises as a result of interference between two waves traveling in opposite directions.

The sum of two counter-propagating waves (of equal amplitude and frequency) creates a standing wave. Standing waves commonly arise when a boundary blocks further propagation of the wave, thus causing wave reflection, and therefore introducing a counter-propagating wave. For example, when a violin string is displaced, transverse waves propagate out to where the string is held in place at the bridge and the nut, where the waves are reflected back. At the bridge and nut, the two opposed waves are in antiphase and cancel each other, producing a node. Halfway between two nodes there is an antinode, where the two counter-propagating waves enhance each other maximally. There is no net propagation of energy over time.

The analytical solution of SV-wave in a half-space indicates that the plane SV wave reflects back to the domain as a P and SV waves, leaving out special cases. The angle of the reflected SV wave is identical to the incidence wave, while the angle of the reflected P wave is greater than the SV wave. For the same wave frequency, the SV wavelength is smaller than the P wavelength. This fact has been depicted in this animated picture.[18]

In the special case Ω(k) = ck, with c a constant, the waves are called non-dispersive, since all frequencies travel at the same phase speed c. For instance electromagnetic waves in vacuum are non-dispersive. In case of other forms of the dispersion relation, we have dispersive waves. The dispersion relationship depends on the medium through which the waves propagate and on the type of waves (for instance electromagnetic, sound or water waves).

When waves in a linear medium (the usual case) cross each other in a region of space, they do not actually interact with each other, but continue on as if the other one weren't present. However at any point in that region the field quantities describing those waves add according to the superposition principle. If the waves are of the same frequency in a fixed phase relationship, then there will generally be positions at which the two waves are in phase and their amplitudes add, and other positions where they are out of phase and their amplitudes (partially or fully) cancel. This is called an interference pattern.

The phenomenon of polarization arises when wave motion can occur simultaneously in two orthogonal directions. Transverse waves can be polarized, for instance. When polarization is used as a descriptor without qualification, it usually refers to the special, simple case of linear polarization. A transverse wave is linearly polarized if it oscillates in only one direction or plane. In the case of linear polarization, it is often useful to add the relative orientation of that plane, perpendicular to the direction of travel, in which the oscillation occurs, such as "horizontal" for instance, if the plane of polarization is parallel to the ground. Electromagnetic waves propagating in free space, for instance, are transverse; they can be polarized by the use of a polarizing filter.

Seismic waves are waves of energy that travel through the Earth's layers, and are a result of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, magma movement, large landslides and large man-made explosions that give out low-frequency acoustic energy.

An electromagnetic wave consists of two waves that are oscillations of the electric and magnetic fields. An electromagnetic wave travels in a direction that is at right angles to the oscillation direction of both fields. In the 19th century, James Clerk Maxwell showed that, in vacuum, the electric and magnetic fields satisfy the wave equation both with speed equal to that of the speed of light. From this emerged the idea that light is an electromagnetic wave. Electromagnetic waves can have different frequencies (and thus wavelengths), giving rise to various types of radiation such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and Gamma rays.

In representing the wave function of a localized particle, the wave packet is often taken to have a Gaussian shape and is called a Gaussian wave packet.[25] Gaussian wave packets also are used to analyze water waves.[26]

Gravitational waves also travel through space. The first observation of gravitational waves was announced on 11 February 2016.[30]Gravitational waves are disturbances in the curvature of spacetime, predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity.

1325 West Main St. Ste. 104Franklin, TN 37064Phone: (615) 794-7955Fax: (615) Waves, Inc. is a registered 5013 nonprofit organization through the TN Secretary of State and holds a Charitable Solicitations permit in this state. The programming and services available through Waves, Inc. take place in Middle TN.

We observe with the largest telescopes in the world in order to detect electromagnetic waves with the very longest wavelengths. Radio astronomy allows us to probe energetic processes which are invisible to optical telescopes. 041b061a72


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