Characteristics of Wave Motion

Characteristics of Wave Motion

Waves can occur whenever a system is disturbed from equilibrium and when the disturbance can travel or propagate from one region of the system to another. Wave can carry energy and momentum. The energy in light waves from the sun warms the surface of our planet; the energy in seismic waves can crack our planet’s crust. Wave motion is the transfer of energy and momentum from one point of the medium to another point of the medium without actual transport of matter between two points.

1) When a wave motion passes through a medium, particles of the medium only vibrate simple harmonically about their mean position. They do leave their position and move with the disturbance.

2) In wave motion, the phase of particles of medium keeps on changing.

3) The velocity of the particle during their vibration is different at different position.

4) The velocity of wave motion through a particular medium is constant. It depends only on the nature of medium not on the frequency, wavelength or intensity.

5) Energy is propagated along with the wave motion without any net transport of the medium.

6) For the propagation of wave, a medium should have following characteristics.

(i) Elasticity: So that particles can return to their mean position, after having been.

(ii) Inertia: So that particles can store energy and overshoot their mean position.

(iii) Minimum friction amongst the particles of the medium.

(iv) Uniform density of the medium.