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What is a wave?

We use words wave in everyday conversation to refer to ocean, light, sound, or earthquake waves. But what do every one of these seemingly various phenomena have in common, and why is it essential to know the nature of waves? Let"s discover these topics.

You are watching: What type of wave does not require matter to carry energy

Waves transmit the power that topples structures during one earthquake, power that permits us to communicate in the contemporary world, and also energy that enables for life on earth at all. Our observations of the earth from an are are also dependent on waves, those that are obtained by satellites. Thus, waves are a an easy feature the the natural world and also our capacity to understand waves has resulted in many useful devices, cell phones, garage door openers, and also microwave ovens, to surname a few. With such a variety, what perform all waves have in common? Ocean, light, sound, and earthquake waves share the characteristics contained in the scientific definition of wave.

Definition The random House thesaurus tells us that a wave is: Physics. A steady disturbance propagated from point to point in a medium or space without progression or advancement by the point out themselves, together in the transmission of sound or light. It"s a tide if: 1) energy moves native one ar to another and 2) matter doesn"t relocate from one location to another, because that the most part.

For example, s waves ceaselessly arrive at the coast without piling up infinite quantities of water. The wave arrives, however the water doesn"t.

We understand that s waves carry energy due to the fact that they are able to beat up and also move objects at the shore. That takes a wave the exact same amount of power to move a huge boulder as it would certainly for united state to carry out the same, manually or v a bulldozer.

In knowledge the earth, it"s valuable to concentration on two basic classes the waves, mechanical and also electromagnetic waves.

Mechanical wavesCommon species of mechanical waves encompass sound or acoustic waves, ocean waves, and also earthquake or seismic waves. In order for compressional waves to propagate, there need to be a medium, i.e. Matter must exist in the intervening space. For our purposes, we use the term matter to typical that atoms have to exist in the intervening space. To learn much more about different species of mechanically waves such as earthquake waves, attach to our module on mechanically Waves.

Electromagnetic wavesCommon types of electromagnetic waves include visible light, infrared, and also ultraviolet radiation, among others. The infection of electromagnetic waves does not need a medium and electromagnetic waves room able come travel with vacuums. Unlike mechanical waves such as sound, electromagnetic waves can travel successfully across the near emptiness of outer space. Thus humanity has been entertained because that eons through the stars the light night skies. Come learn much more about different varieties of electromagnetic tide such together ultraviolet radiation, attach to our module on Electromagnetic Waves.

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