Wave - General Features

General Features

A single, all-encompassing definition for the term wave is not straightforward. A vibration can be defined as a back-and-forth motion around a reference value. However, a vibration is not necessarily a wave. An attempt to define the necessary and sufficient characteristics that qualify a phenomenon to be called a wave results in a fuzzy border line.

The term wave is often intuitively understood as referring to a transport of spatial disturbances that are generally not accompanied by a motion of the medium occupying this space as a whole. In a wave, the energy of a vibration is moving away from the source in the form of a disturbance within the surrounding medium (Hall 1980, p. 8). However, this notion is problematic for a standing wave (for example, a wave on a string), where energy is moving in both directions equally, or for electromagnetic (e.g., light) waves in a vacuum, where the concept of medium does not apply and interaction with a target is the key to wave detection and practical applications. There are water waves on the ocean surface; gamma waves and light waves emitted by the Sun; microwaves used in microwave ovens and in radar equipment; radio waves broadcast by radio stations; and sound waves generated by radio receivers, telephone handsets and living creatures (as voices), to mention only a few wave phenomena.

It may appear that the description of waves is closely related to their physical origin for each specific instance of a wave process. For example, acoustics is distinguished from optics in that sound waves are related to a mechanical rather than an electromagnetic wave transfer caused by vibration. Concepts such as mass, momentum, inertia, or elasticity, become therefore crucial in describing acoustic (as distinct from optic) wave processes. This difference in origin introduces certain wave characteristics particular to the properties of the medium involved. For example, in the case of air: vortices, radiation pressure, shock waves etc.; in the case of solids: Rayleigh waves, dispersion; and so on.

Other properties, however, although usually described in terms of origin, may be generalized to all waves. For such reasons, wave theory represents a particular branch of physics that is concerned with the properties of wave processes independently of their physical origin. For example, based on the mechanical origin of acoustic waves, a moving disturbance in space–time can exist if and only if the medium involved is neither infinitely stiff nor infinitely pliable. If all the parts making up a medium were rigidly bound, then they would all vibrate as one, with no delay in the transmission of the vibration and therefore no wave motion. On the other hand, if all the parts were independent, then there would not be any transmission of the vibration and again, no wave motion. Although the above statements are meaningless in the case of waves that do not require a medium, they reveal a characteristic that is relevant to all waves regardless of origin: within a wave, the phase of a vibration (that is, its position within the vibration cycle) is different for adjacent points in space because the vibration reaches these points at different times.

Similarly, wave processes revealed from the study of waves other than sound waves can be significant to the understanding of sound phenomena. A relevant example is Thomas Young's principle of interference (Young, 1802, in Hunt 1992, p. 132). This principle was first introduced in Young's study of light and, within some specific contexts (for example, scattering of sound by sound), is still a researched area in the study of sound.

Read more about this topic:  Wave

Other articles related to "general features, features, general":

Comparison Of Shopping Cart Software - General Features
... Information about the features the shopping carts offer Source Code Provided Ajax Usage Digital Downloads eBay Listing Integration eBay Order Import Multiple Skins Point of Sale Order Management ...
Embryo Drawing - Famous Embryo Illustrators - Karl Ernst Von Baer (1792-1876)
... problems facing embryologists at the time the arrangement of general and special characters during development in different species of animals ... Von Baer’s laws state that general features of animals appear earlier in the embryo than special features, where less general features stem from the most general, each embryo of a ... display that individual development proceeds from general features of the developing embryo in early stages through differentiation into special features specific to the species, establishing that linear ...
Su-30MKI - Design - Cockpit and Ergonomics - General Features
... Beginning in 2010, HUDs and Multi-Function Displays (MFD) will be provided by the Delhi-based Samtel Display Systems ... These are indigenously designed and built and are not part of a joint foreign venture ...
Treatise On Invertebrate Paleontology - List of Its Volumes - Mollusca (I, J, K, L, M & N)
... Mollusca 1 Mollusca General Features, Scaphopoda, Amphineura, Monoplacophora, Gastropoda General Features, Archaeogastropoda, Mainly Paleozoic Caenogastropoda and Opisthobranchia ... Mollusca 3 Cephalopoda General Features, Endoceratoidea, Actinoceratoidea, Nautiloidea, Bactritoidea, xxviii + 519 p ...

Famous quotes containing the words features and/or general:

    “It looks as if
    Some pallid thing had squashed its features flat
    And its eyes shut with overeagerness
    To see what people found so interesting
    In one another, and had gone to sleep
    Of its own stupid lack of understanding,
    Or broken its white neck of mushroom stuff
    Short off, and died against the windowpane.”
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

    The first general store opened on the ‘Cold Saturday’ of the winter of 1833 ... Mrs. Mary Miller, daughter of the store’s promoter, recorded in a letter: ‘Chickens and birds fell dead from their roosts, cows ran bellowing through the streets’; but she failed to state what effect the freeze had on the gala occasion of the store opening.
    —Administration in the State of Sout, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)