# 14: Waves

- Page ID
- 19460

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Learning Objectives

- Understand the definition of different types of waves.
- Understand how to mathematically describe traveling and standing waves.
- Understand how to model the propagation of a pulse on a rope.
- Understand how to model the energy transported by a wave.
- Understand how to model the interference of waves.
- Understand how standing waves form and how to model them

In this chapter we introduce the tools to describe waves. Waves arise in many different physical systems (the ocean, a string, electromagnetism, etc.), and can be described by a common mathematical framework.

prelude

Two waves travel down two identical strings (Figure 14.1). The frequency of the first wave is twice that of the second wave. Which wave will be faster?

- The first wave.
- The second wave.
- The speeds will be the same.

- 14.1: Characteristics of a wave
- A traveling wave is a disturbance that travels through a medium.

- 14.2: Mathematical Description of a Wave
- In order to describe the motion of a wave through a medium, we can describe the motion of the individual particles of the medium as the wave passes through. Specifically, we describe the position of each particle using its displacement, D , from its equilibrium position.

- 14.3: Waves on a Rope
- In this section, we model the motion of transverse waves on a rope, as this provides insight into many properties of waves that extend to waves propagating in other media.

- 14.5: Energy Transported by a Wave
- In this section, we examine how to model the energy that is transported by waves. Although no material moves along with a wave, mechanical energy can be transported by a wave, as evidenced by the damage caused by the waves from an earthquake.