About This Chapter
Mechanical Waves - Chapter Summary
If you are interested in learning more about waves, this engaging online chapter can help. Watch short video lessons to gain greater insight into the basics of sound, reflection, wave parameters, the Doppler effect and much more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short quiz you can take to assess your comprehension of the concepts it covers. A practice exam is also available to test your knowledge of this chapter. After reviewing the lessons, you should be able to:
- Define vibrations and waves and discuss their relationship with energy and motion
- Understand wavelength, amplitude, period and other wave parameters
- Share the definition of transverse and longitudinal waves
- List factors that affect the speed of sound
- Explain the meaning of resonance and discuss the transmission of waves
- Describe constructive and destructive interference
- Discuss the basics of reflection and diffraction
- Detail the application of the Doppler effect
1. Vibrations and Waves: Energy and Motion
What is a wave? What causes waves, and how do they travel from one place to another? This lesson will guide you through the basics of waves. We'll discuss their origins from vibrations and investigate how they carry energy through a medium.
2. Wave Parameters: Wavelength, Amplitude, Period, Frequency & Speed
How do we measure and describe waves? How do waves differ based upon their shapes? This lesson will guide you through the five wave parameters - period, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed - that we use to characterize waves.
3. Transverse & Longitudinal Waves: Definition & Examples
What comes to mind when you think of a wave? Chances are your mental image takes the form of a transverse wave. But, longitudinal waves are just as important, and understanding the difference is vital to learning about waves. In this lesson, explore both types of waves and the unique characteristics of each.
4. Diffraction: Relation to Sound & Light and Effects of Wavelength
This lesson explores diffraction as one of the many behaviors of waves. Learn how diffraction occurs in sound and light waves and how it is affected by the wavelength of a wave. Find out how animals use diffraction to communicate and how scientists use it to study molecules.
5. Refraction & Dispersion: Definition, Snell's Law & Index of Refraction
Refraction explains why light bends in water. But, did you know that mathematical laws determine exactly how light waves are bent? In this lesson, we'll explore the mechanics of wave refraction, including Snell's Law and the index of refraction.
6. Reflection: Angle of Incidence and Curved Surfaces
How do waves reflect off of surfaces? How do we account for the images that we see reflected in various objects? Discover the answers to these questions as we investigate the rays and angles defining the law of reflection.
7. Constructive and Destructive Interference
What happens when one wave meets another? Do the waves converge to make one giant wave? Or, do they destroy each other? In this lesson, we'll explore the workings of wave interference.
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Other chapters within the Physics 111: Physics I course
- Math Basics for Physics
- The Scientific Model
- Using Vectors in Physics
- Displacement, Velocity & Acceleration
- Understanding Kinematics in Physics
- Basics of Newton's Laws of Motion
- Newton's Law of Gravitation
- Understanding Work, Energy & Power
- Linear Momentum
- Overview of Rotational Motion
- Overview of Oscillations in Physics
- Overview of Sound in Physics
- Overview of Light in Physics
- Overview of Fluids in Physics
- Studying for Physics 111