Ch 16: Characteristics of Waves

About This Chapter

Examine the behavior of light and sound waves with the video lessons in this chapter. You'll also study the seven regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and examine the concept of wave-particle duality.

Characteristics of Waves - Chapter Summary

This chapter includes everything you'll need to review wave properties and behaviors. Begin with lessons on wave parameters - such as period, frequency and amplitude - and explore factors affecting the speed, pitch and volume of sound. You'll also find lessons focusing on the visible light region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Use them to take another look at factors determining the transparency or opacity of an object and re-examine the wave properties affecting our perception of color.

You can also take another look at wave behaviors, including reflection, resonance, refraction, diffraction and dispersion, and examine the concept of wave-particle duality. The chapter concludes with a lesson showing you how to solve conceptual and numerical problems with scattering. Topics of instruction include:

  • Transverse and longitudinal waves
  • Sound wave amplitude and frequency
  • Factors affecting the speed of sound
  • Electromagnetic wave properties
  • Wave reflection and refraction
  • Wave dispersion and diffraction
  • Constructive and destructive interference
  • Wave-particle duality

Instructors teaching these video lessons use real-world examples that make studying wave characteristics fun. Access their expert instruction by reading through text lessons or watching short videos that last less than ten minutes each. Multiple-choice quizzes are also included to ensure you have a solid understanding of wave properties and behaviors by the time you finish this chapter.

21 Lessons in Chapter 16: Characteristics of Waves
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion

1. Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion

When an object is manifesting a repetitive motion over the same path in a rhythmic way, it is vibrating, which means waves are being formed. Learn about vibrations and waves, amplitude and energy.

Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed

2. Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed

Wave parameters refer to the different ways waves are measured. Examine how waves are characterized by wavelength, amplitude, period, frequency, and/or speed.

Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples

3. Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples

In transverse waves, particles of a medium move perpendicular to the wave's direction of travel and in longitudinal waves, the particles move parallel. Explore the definition and examples of these waves, how they travel through solids, liquids, and gasses, and learn about seismic waves.

What is Sound? - Definition and Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound

4. What is Sound? - Definition and Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound

Sound is a longitudinal wave that travels through various states of matter, like solids, and not through a vacuum. Discover the definition and factors affecting the speed of sound including nature of sound waves, mediums, and the wave equation.

Pitch and Volume in Sound Waves

5. Pitch and Volume in Sound Waves

In sound waves, pitch is the frequency of sound and volume is the intensity of sound. Explore the parameters of sound, the definitions of amplitude, intensity, and frequency, and the acoustic range.

Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

6. Electromagnetic Waves: Definition, Sources & Properties

Electromagnetic waves are both electric and magnetic, and can travel without a medium. Learn about the definition, sources, and properties of electromagnetic waves.

The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

7. The Nature of Light: Origin, Spectrum & Color Frequency

The nature of light includes visible light and color. Explore the origin, spectrum, and color frequency of light and learn about the six color ranges and people's perception and naming of color.

Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

8. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces

The reflection of waves occurs when a wave changes direction after it hits a surface. Explore incident and reflected rays, the law of reflection, and reflection off curved surfaces.

Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves

9. Resonance: Definition & Transmission of Waves

Resonance is when the amplitude of an object's oscillations is increased by the matching vibrations of another object. Explore the definition, transmission of waves, resonate frequency, and resonance in music.

Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

10. Transparent and Opaque Materials in Electromagnetic Waves

Transparency and opacity describe interactions in regions throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Explore the differences between transparent and opaque materials, their relation to transmission and reflection, and non-visible wave types.

Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

11. Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption

When you perceive color, what you're really seeing is how white light is reflected or absorbed by an object to produce different visible light frequencies. This lesson investigates the properties of white light, the color spectrum, the process of selective absorption and reflection, and how pigments work in living things.

Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

12. Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction

When a light wave passes from one medium into another, it changes direction in a process called refraction. This lesson investigates the properties of refraction, including the index of refraction and the ratio known as Snell's Law.

Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength

13. Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength

Diffraction describes a unique behavior of waves where they bend as they travel through certain mediums. Explore the diffraction of sound and light, and the effects of wavelength on diffraction.

Constructive and Destructive Interference

14. Constructive and Destructive Interference

When two waves meet while traveling in the same medium, they disrupt each other in a process called interference, which produces an entirely new wave. Discover the two types of interference, constructive and destructive, and learn how a single wave can interfere with itself.

The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications

15. The Doppler Effect: Definition, Examples & Applications

The Doppler effect explains why a sound's pitch seems to change depending on whether it's coming towards you or moving away from you. This lesson investigates how the Doppler effect works, and how it can be applied to the behavior of both sound waves and light waves.

Specular Reflection: Definition & Examples

16. Specular Reflection: Definition & Examples

This lesson will define specular reflection, explain how it differs from diffuse reflection, and give some examples of specular reflection: when it is useful and when it is problematic. A short quiz will follow.

Wave-Particle Duality: Concept, Explanation & Examples

17. Wave-Particle Duality: Concept, Explanation & Examples

When the photoelectric effect was discovered, it challenged the preconceived scientific theory that science that light behaves like a wave. This lesson explores how light can act as both a wave and a particle, and how this discovery led to the theory of wave-particle duality.

The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

18. The 7 Major Regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Unlike some other waves, electromagnetic waves don't require a medium to travel. This lesson delves into the frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum including infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, X-rays, radio waves, and gamma rays.

Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

19. Diffuse Reflection: Definition, Examples & Surfaces

When rays hit a rough surface, their reflections go in diverse directions. This phenomenon is called diffuse reflection. Learn its definition, its difference from specular reflection, and different examples of diffuse reflection in sound and light waves.

How Wave Propagation Relates to the Properties of Materials

20. How Wave Propagation Relates to the Properties of Materials

When you've finished this lesson, you'll be able to explain the meaning of wave propagation, as well as list and explain the material properties that affect wave speed. We'll wrap up the lesson with a short quiz.

Conceptual & Numerical Problems With Scattering

21. Conceptual & Numerical Problems With Scattering

This lesson will explore the behavior of scattering as it pertains to wave characteristics and properties. We will consider the principle of scattering and how to calculate it.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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More Exams
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