Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

# Difference Between Longitudinal and Transverse Wave

Longitudinal vs Transverse Wave

A wave is a disturbance which moves away from what created it and changes the thing that it travels on like the surface of the ocean or the air. This is caused by the transfer of energy that disturbs its medium or channel. There are several types of waves, and two of them are longitudinal and transverse waves.

A longitudinal wave is a wave wherein the movement of the channel or medium is in the same direction as the wave. This causes particles to move left and right inducing other particles to oscillate or vibrate. The primary wave or P-wave in an earthquake is an example of a longitudinal wave. Sound waves are also longitudinal waves. Air molecules move forward and backward, and when they are compressed, they are forced to move apart producing a vacuum or what is called a rarefaction.

A longitudinal wave acts in only one dimension so it does not have a plane nor can it be polarized or aligned. It can be produced in solids, liquids, or gases unlike a transverse wave which can only be produced in solids and the surface of liquids.

A transverse wave is a wave wherein the movement of the channel or medium is at a right angle to the wave’s direction. The particles move up and down as the wave moves horizontally. Electromagnetic waves and the secondary or S-wave in an earthquake are transverse waves. Transverse waves act in two dimensions or on a plane enabling them to be polarized or aligned as they travel on the same plane. They are made up of crests and troughs which are created by the vibration of the waves’ travel.

Transverse waves do not need any medium, and most waves are transverse waves such as those that are created on the surface of water. As they travel in one direction, it brings about an up-and-down movement on the surface of the water causing the person in the water to be pulled forward and backward.

Summary:

1.A longitudinal wave is a wave wherein the movement of the medium is in the same direction as the wave while a transverse wave is a wave wherein the movement of the medium is at a right angle to the direction of the wave.
2.A longitudinal wave acts in one dimension while a transverse wave acts in two dimensions or a plane.
3.A transverse wave can be polarized or aligned while a longitudinal wave cannot be polarized.
4.A longitudinal wave can be produced in a solid, liquid, or gas while a transverse wave can be produced in a solid and on the surface of liquid.
5.An example of a longitudinal wave is the primary or P-wave in an earthquake while an example of a transverse wave is the secondary or S-wave in an earthquake.
6.A transverse wave is made up of crests and troughs while a longitudinal wave is made up of compressions and rarefaction.

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