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Physics - Transverse Waves
The ripples on the surface of water are transverse waves.

Physics - Transverse Waves

This Physics quiz is called 'Physics - Transverse Waves' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at senior high school. Playing educational quizzes is one of the most efficienct ways to learn if you are in the 11th or 12th grade - aged 16 to 18.

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When asked to draw a diagram of a wave in science, most people would probably draw a wiggly line as that resembles the waves that you see on water. That type of wave is called a transverse wave. Waves are formed by vibrations and create oscillations (posh word for vibrations) in the medium through which they pass. Transverse waves cause oscillations at right angles to the direction they are traveling. That is how they get their name - transverse means across.

Mechanical waves make the particles of the medium itself vibrate. Sound is a mechanical wave but not a transverse wave, so it is dealt with in a different quiz. Earthquake waves, other than the P waves, are transverse and they make the particles of the ground shake from side to side as they pass - with devastating consequences. Water waves and ripples are mechanical waves and they cause the water molecules to vibrate up and down as they pass.

Electromagnetic waves are also transverse waves, but they don't need a physical medium to travel - in fact they travel better where it is just empty space. They cause oscillations in the electric and magnetic fields that are everywhere in the universe, hence their name. For the exam, you are expected to know the order of electromagnetic waves within the spectrum in terms of energy, frequency and wavelength.

Which of the following answers places these waves of the electromagnetic spectrum in the correct order of increasing frequency?

1. Visible light
2. Radio waves
3. Microwaves
4. Ultra violet
5. Infrared
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2, 3, 5, 1, 4
5, 4, 2, 1, 3
3, 2, 4, 5, 1
You need to know the order of the electromagnetic spectrum. If you learn it thoroughly in one direction using one property (e.g. the order in increasing wavelength) you can work out any other orders that the questions might throw at you. For example, the order in increasing energy would be the reverse of the order of wavelength because the shorter wavelength electromagnetic radiation carries more energy
Why do transverse waves refract when they enter a more dense medium?
They slow down
They speed up
They are deflected by the more dense particles
The normal attracts them
The opposite is true when they travel from more dense into less dense media
When drawing a diagram to measure the angle of refraction, a student drew a broken (dashed) line at right angles to the boundary. What is the name of this line and which way would the wave refract?
Normal, towards the normal
Ordinary, away from the ordinary
Standard, towards the standard
Normal, you need more information
The missing information for this question is whether or not the wave was entering a more dense or less dense medium
Which of the following statements about X-rays is correct?
X-rays cause electric and magnetic fields to vibrate at 90o to the direction they are traveling
X-rays are longitudinal waves
X-rays are transverse waves only after being reflected
X-rays become transverse waves when they are refracted by certain crystals
They are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and are therefore transverse waves
As transverse seismic waves pass through the Earth, they must travel through several different layers. These layers have different densities. What happens to these waves when they reach a boundary between the layers?
They are blocked
They reflect and refract
They reflect only
They refract only
When any transverse wave passes from one medium into another that has a different density, some of the energy is reflected and some is refracted. How much of each depends on the angle. At the critical angle, all of the energy is reflected
The distance from any point on one wave to the same point on the next wave is called what?
The amplitude
The frequency
The modulation
The wavelength
It is usually shown as being from the top of one crest to the top of the next crest
When a transverse wave passes through a gap that is about the same width as its wavelength, which of the following is not true?
It slows down
It diffracts
Its wavelength is not affected
It can produce an interference pattern on a screen
Diffraction is when a wave spreads out as it passes through a gap that is about the same as its wavelength
What is the amplitude of a transverse wave?
The height of the wave from the center line to the crest
The height of the wave from the center line to the trough
The maximum displacement of a wave
What is measured using a voltmeter and ammeter
On a diagram of a transverse wave, the amplitude is the 'height' of the wave measured from the rest (equilibrium) position to the lowest point of a trough or to the highest point of a crest
Which of these statements about the frequency of a transverse wave is true?
The frequency of a transverse wave is related to wavelength by the wave equation
The frequency of a transverse wave is measured in Hertz (Hz)
The frequency of a transverse wave is the number of waves passing a given point in 1 second
All of the above
High frequency waves have short wavelengths and vise versa
Under what conditions does refraction not take place?
When the wave has a long wavelength
If the wave is traveling at less than the speed of light
If the angle of incidence is 90o
When the wave has already been refracted somewhere else
If a wave is traveling along the normal it will cross from one medium into another without being refracted
Author:  Kev Woodward

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