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A longitudinal wave is a wave that moves in the direction that it was started. It has a compression (increased intensity) of the medium particles and a rarefaction (a reduction of intensity). A slinky lying horizontal and pushed horizontally is a simple way to demonstrate a longitudinal wave. A typical example is a longitudinal wave is a sound wave. Another example is a shock wave.

A transverse wave is wave that travels perpendicular or at right angles to the direction it was started. A string or slinky moving up and down (one end being held stationary and the other moving up and down) is is a simple way to demonstrate a transverse wave. An example of transverse waves are a string on a guitar vibrating, or ripples on the surface of water. The differences between Longitudinal waves and transverse waves includes:

1.Movement: The movement of the medium is different. In the longitudinal wave, the medium moves left to right, while in thee transverse wave, the medium moves vertically up and down.

2.Longitudinal waves have a compression and rarefaction, while the transverse wave has a crest and a trough.

3.Longitudinal waves have a pressure variation, transverse waves don’t.

4.Longitudinal waves can be propagated in solids, liquids and gases, transverse waves can only be propagated in solids and on the surfaces of liquids.

5.Longitudinal waves have a change in density throughout the medium, transverse waves don’t.

 

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