9 Real Life Examples Of Transverse Wave

You might have enjoyed that ripple pattern formed in the pond after a stone is thrown in it. Also, you might have observed an upward and downward motion of a rope, when you shake it from one of its ends. These ripples and the upward and downward motion of the rope are the examples of a transverse wave.

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Transverse waves are the waves in which the particles move in a direction perpendicular to that of a wave. The highest point is called “Crest,” and the lowest point is called “Trough.” They can even travel in vaccum.

Transverse wave

Let’s analyze some daily life examples of transverse waves.

1. LightWave

Light Wave-transverse wave

Lightwave forms the most important example of a transverse wave. In case of the light waves, particles travel perpendicular to the direction of the waves. It is the visible spectrum that is visible to the human eye and is responsible for the sense of sight.

2. Ripples in Water Pond

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Whenever we throw a pebble into the pond, we see the circular ripples formed on its surface which disappear gradually. The water moves up and down, and the effect, ripple, which is visible to us looks like an outwardly moving wave.

3. Plucking a Guitar String

plucking a guitar string

When you pluck the string of a guitar, the strings move up and down, exhibiting transverse wave. The sound wave is a longitudinal wave, but the wave on the guitar is, however, a transverse wave. The particles in the string move perpendicular to the direction of the wave propagation.

4. Earthquake (Seismic S wave)

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The bump or rattle that we feel during an earthquake is due to seismic-S wave. It moves rock particles up and down,  perpendicular to the direction of the wave propagation. These S-waves are transverse waves and require a solid medium to travel.

5. Tsunami Waves

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Though Tsunamis have properties of both the transverse as well as a longitudinal wave; however, it starts as a transverse wave. It is transverse in form from the place where the earthquake starts under water and turns longitudinal when it reaches the shore.

6. X-Rays

X ray- Transverse wave

Most of us might have undergone X-ray at one point or the other. These are the type of electromagnetic radiation in which the electric field and magnetic field propagate perpendicular to each other.

7. Audience

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When a large number of spectators are attending a match or a game in a stadium, you might have noticed a metachronal rhythm achieved by successive groups of the audience when they stand, yell, or raise their arms. It is also called stadium wave or Mexican waves.

8. Electromagnetic Waves

Electromagnetic Waves- Transverse waves

We all experience electromagnetic waves daily even without knowing it; in radios, TV’s, while cooking in microwaves and in hospitals (X rays and MRI). These are the transverse waves in which the electric field and magnetic field are perpendicular to each other.

9. Oscillating String or Rope

Oscillating rope-transverse wave

Most of us have experienced waving a rope up and down, while the other end is fixed. When we pull a rope or string from one end and keep the other end fixed, it exhibits a transverse wave.


  2. Emili Warren
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