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# How do waves carry energy?

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According to TutorVista.com, waves carry energy through their up and down movements. The regular movements of the waves are able to carry two different types of energy: mechanical and electromagnetic. Some of these types of waves require certain types of environments and substances to travel through in order to move energy from one location to another.

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Waves can be defined simply as disturbances with a capacity for energy transfer. Usually, this energy transfer occurs over some type of material that the waves can travel through. These materials are often gaseous or liquids. For example, many waves carry mechanical energy through the ocean because they are able to spread their movements and disturbances through the water easily. However, not all waves require these materials. Some rare waves, called electromagnetic waves, can travel without a medium. Energy is transferred from the sun to the earth through electromagnetic waves without the need for any medium to facilitate the process.

Because one of the ways energy can be stored and expended is in movement, waves carry a lot of energy with them as they move up and down and travel forward. This means that the energy can be utilized in a number of different ways. For example, water turbines catch the mechanical energy of the movement of waves and can transfer them into a rotary motion to power generators.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Mechanical waves transfer energy by inducing vibrations in the propagation medium. Electromagnetic waves do not require a medium for propagation, but still transfer energy by having an electric and magnetic field propagate perpendicular to one another.

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Wave energy travels as particles "undergo a back-and-forth vibratory cycle about a fixed position," according to The Physics Classroom. These particles bump into one another to transfer the energy, but the force of the bump pushes them back to their original position.

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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.