A Quick Overview of Waves.

A Wave is a form of energy that is created from objects that move with Simple Harmonic Motion. The energy that waves a from is called Electromagnetic for light and Sound Energy for sound, and is mostly invisible to the eye, except for visible light and some transverse waves, (waves at the beach, visible waves such as rainbows) whereas a form of energy such as Kinetic Energy is usually more physical (i.e. a baseball flying through the air).

Simple Harmonic Motion is is object that moves back and forth from an equilibrium position. This movement is known as Oscillation (move or swing back and forth at a regular speed,New Oxford American Dictionary,2011). Read more about the equilibrium in the Properties of Waves section!


Waves are Categorised in two main ways, one way is the type of medium the waves travel through. The first way waves travel is a Mechanical wave. In a Mechanical wave, the waves must move through a medium, this medium can be anything. Things such as waves at the beach and sound are mechanical waves.

A water wave, this is an example of a mechanical wave.

The second way waves travel is through Electromagnetic Radiation, or EMR. Electromagnetic Radiation does not need a medium to travel through. Things such as Light, Infrared and Ultraviolet Light are all EMR. These are all part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. Read about the Electromagnetic Spectrum on the Electromagnetic Spectrum & Light page!
A rainbow, which is an EMR

Surface Waves
One way wave particles move is through surface waves. In a surface wave, the particles move in a circular motion, a water wave is an example of a surface wave.

How a Water Wave moves
How a Water Wave moves

More ways to categorise waves through the direction the particles move are included on on the next page, Types of Waves

To see how some of this relates to real life, go to Real World Example Video!!!!!!!
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