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The 5 Wave Properties

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What are the wave properties? Edit

Wave properties are elements we can measure for ANY wave. These properties are: amplitude, wavelength, frequency, period, and velocity.

Amplitude: Edit

The amplitude (measured in meters) is a measurment of the energy in a wave. The larger the amplitude is, the more energy the wave has. The image above displays the definition of amplitude. Amplitude is measured by the distance between the maximum displacment of the wave from the medium as is depicted above.

The diagram above displays points A,B,C,and D, all at which the amplitude of the wave can be measured. The amplitude line on the left side of the image which shows a length of 2 meters between the medium of the wave and point A, is the same measurment as those between the medium and points B,C, and D. Basically the amplitude is the same throughout the wave. Whether you're measuring from the medium to the maximum distanced point of the crest (top of the wave), or from the medium to the maximum distanced point of the trough (bottom of the wave), the distance remains the same at these points and the amplitude is always 2 meters.

Practice Problem: Solution posted at the bottom of the page!

1) Amplitude_3.JPG

The amplitude of the wave in the diagram above is given by letter____.


Wavelength which is represented by λ (lambda) measures (in meters) the distance between two succesive crests or troughs of the wave. The wavelength can be measured at other points on the wave as well as long as the distance is the same as is shown below: You can also find the wavelength if an image with the distance and amount of waves is given, for example

If the distance of this image is 12m, and 3 distinct waves are observable, we can divide the distance by the amount of waves to get the wavelength. λ=12m/3 λ=4.0m .If the wavelength cannot be found by either of the methods above, it can easily be calculated by using the equation λ=v/f. Wavelength is equal to velocity (m/s) divided by frequency (Hz).

Practice Problem: See solution at the bottom of the page!

2) A wave has a velocity of 20 m/s and frequency of 4Hz. What is the wavelength?

Period: Edit

The period is the amount of time (in seconds) it takes to completle one cycle. Period measures the seconds per cycle. For example, if the "cycle" of a bike wheel is when the wheel makes one complete circle, the period would be the amount of time it takes for the wheel to complete its cycle. Period is represented by the letter T and is the inverse of frequency therefore it can be calculated by using this equation;

Practice Problems: See bottom of page for answers!

5)A wave has an amplitude of 2 cm and a frequency of 12 Hz, and the distance from a crest to the nearest trough is measured to be 5 cm. Determine the period of such a

6)What is the period of a wave with a frequency of 250 Hz? Barron Review Course Series:Physics-The Physical Setting

Velocity: Edit

Velocity of a wave is kind of complicated. It measures the speed a which the wave travels (in meters per second) and can be caluculated by using the equation v=fλ OR v = λ / T. Velocity is equal to the frequency multpilied by the wavelength, OR wavelength divided by the period. Practice Problems:Soultions at the bottom of the page!

7) If a wave has a wavelength is 10 m and a frequency of 2 Hz, what is the velocity of the wave?

8) A wave completes each cylce in 4 seconds and have a wavelength of 32 m. what is the velocity of the wave?

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