Transverse Waves

The first way the particles move is called transverse, or a transverse wave. In a transverse wave, particles move perpendicular to the direction of the wave. Perpendicular is like this _l_. The motion of a transverse wave can be demonstrated through a slinky. When the slinky moves up and down, it's coils represent the particles moving up and down in a transverse wave. Transverse waves Light is an example of a transverse wave. Transverse waves are used in real life in many ways, as all parts of the Electromagnetic Spectrum are transverse. Radio waves are used in microwaves and radios. Visible light is used in our light bulbs and headlights on cars. Also, infrared is used in some of our wireless devices.
How the Particles in a Transverse wave move.


Longitudinal Waves
The second way the particles move is called Longitudinal. In a longitudinal wave, the particles move parallel to the direction of the wave. Parallel is like this //. The motion of longitudinal waves can be displayed through the motion of a slinky. As opposed to transverse waves, a longitudinal wave can be created when the slinky is held horizontally and pushed forward and back, the coils compressing and expanding represent the rarefactions and compressions in a longitudinal wave. Something such as sound is a longitudinal wave. Longitudinal waves are used in everyday life, as car horns emit sound, as does electrical equipment such as televisions and laptops. Longitudinal waves are used to communicate, without longitudinal waves, people could not communicate.
How the particles move in a Longitudinal Wave

Electromagnetic vs Mechanical
Mechanical waves are waves such as sound. Mechanical waves need a medium to travel through, whereas Electromagnetic waves do not. Mechanical waves are slower than Electromagnetic waves because if a wave doesn't need a medium to travel through, it cannot be slowed down by the surroundings. Read more about the speed of light and sound on the respective Electromagnetic Spectrum & Light and Sound pages!

Mechanical waves also move slower the Electromagnetic light as when a medium is hotter, the wave moves faster, as the particle theory states that particles are less packed together when heated. This is why lightning is seen before thunder is heard.
external image lightning-over-water_270_600x450.jpg


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