A wave is an oscillation of energy travelling through a carrier medium.

A transverse wave is one in which the medium moves from side to side while the wave moves forward. An example of a transverse wave is an ocean swell: the energy may be moving towards shore, but the water molecules move up and down.

A Longitudinal wave is one in which the pulse moves in the same direction as the medium. The molecules vibrate back and forth in the direction of the sound wave.


Sound consists of waves of compression and rarefaction of the transmitting medium (e.g. air or water), traveling at a fixed velocity. Sound is an example of a longitudinal wave.

Studying transverse waves will help us understand wave behavior as both waveforms follow the same mathematical principles.

Wavelength is the distance between the next equivalent points on the next phase of the wave

Amplitude is the peak size of the wave signal.

Frequency is the number of times the wavelength occurs in a second.

For a regular sine wave the wavelength (λ) is inversely related to the frequency (f) by the sound velocity (v): V=fλ

Waveforms are generally more complex but gaining an initial understanding of the simple waveform opens the door to a deeper learning.


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