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# What are examples of mechanical waves?

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Sound waves, earthquakes and ocean waves are all examples of mechanical waves. Longitudinal waves, transverse waves and surface waves are the three types of mechanical waves.

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Mechanical waves are waves that spread through a solid, liquid or gas material. The speed of the wave depends on what the medium is made of.

Longitudinal waves, such as the P waves during an earthquake, cause the medium they travel through to move parallel to the starting point of the wave. Longitudinal waves are the fastest mechanical wave type. Sound is also considered a longitudinal wave.

Transverse waves, such as the S waves during an earthquake, cause the medium they travel through to move perpendicular to the starting point of the wave. There are two components of a transverse wave. The crest is the highest point on the wave, while the trough is the lowest, and the distance between these two is half a wavelength. An entire wavelength would be from crest to crest or trough to trough. Transverse waves move slightly more slowly than longitudinal waves.

Surface waves, as the name implies, travel along the surface of a medium in both longitudinal and transverse motions. Surface waves can be anything from waves on the ocean or a lake to Rayleigh waves, which move along solid surfaces. Rayleigh waves travel more slowly than S waves and cause the most damage during an earthquake.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Electromagnetic and mechanical waves differ in that electromagnetic waves are always longitudinal and do not require a known medium, while mechanical waves are either longitudinal or compression waves and require a medium. All known electromagnetic waves are also known as forms of light. An example of a longitudinal mechanical wave is a wave in water, while sound is an example of a compression wave.

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• A:

Sound is classified as a mechanical wave because it requires a medium to propagate its energy and cannot be heard in vacuum.

There are two broad classes of waves - mechanical and electromagnetic. One requires a medium to be heard, and the other does not. Full Answer >
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• A:

Three types of mechanical waves are transverse waves, longitudinal waves and surface waves. Mechanical waves are different from electromagnetic waves in that they can't propagate in a vacuum; they need a physical medium, such as water or air.