What do transverse waves and longitudinal have in common?

1 Answer
Jan 25, 2016

All waves have frequency, wavelength, speed and amplitude. The amplitudes of longitudinal and transverse waves are measured differently, however.


A wave is a repeating cycle, so all waves have a frequency #(("waves")/("time"))#.
Wavelength #(lamda)# is the distance from one wave to the next, or the length of a single wave.
Since waves travel, they have a speed, and the size or strength of a wave is it's amplitude.

The difference between the amplitude of a transverse and longitudinal wave is that transverse waves move up and down or side to side (perpendicular to the direction of motion), and longitudinal waves squeeze and stretch (called compression and rarefaction) in the direction of motion.

So amplitude in a transverse wave is usually given in units of length (m), but amplitude of longitudinal waves is often given in terms of pressure difference.