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TOPIC 9: Waves
How to distinguish between Transverse and Longitudinal waves? There are of course the standard text book definitions, but an easier way to remember is to pretend you are a wave, travelling from your bus stop to your home, after school.
Imagine that the sun has set and the sky is dark. Now use a string and tie a torch light on your head.
Then like a frog, hop from your bus stop to your home. Your neighbours will see a light moving up and down, at same time moving from the bus stop to your home. Since the displacement of the torchlight is perpendicular to your direction of travel, it behaves like a transverse wave.
Next night, again tie the torchlight to your head, but instead of hopping like a frog, move your head forward and backward (like a chicken). Do you notice that when a chicken walks, its head move back and forth. Yes, do that while walking home.
This time your neighbours will see a light moving forward and backward, at the same time travelling from the bus stop to your home. Since the displacement of the torchlight is now parallel to your direction of travel, it behaves like a longitudinal wave.
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