Examples of Transverse Wave

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Last updated on September 17th, 2019 at 03:18 pm

A transverse wave is a propagating wave where oscillations are right-angled to the direction of the wave propagation. The topmost point of this oscillation is called a “Crest,” and the bottom-most point is called a “Trough.”

Examples of transverse wave travelling left to right

There are several examples of transverse waves in our daily life. However, we should know an experiment that can distinguish a transverse wave from a longitudinal wave. And this experiment is known as polarization.

Let us consider a string with the right end tied to a wall and the left end held by you. Now, suddenly snap your hand up and down to produce a bump in the string. What will you see? You will see a vertical displacement traveling left to right through the rope. What have you created here? It is a transverse wave.

Polarization of Transverse Wave


Now, if you place a cardboard having a slit along the direction of the vibration, the wave will pass easily through the slit. However, if your slit orients perpendicular to the direction of the slit it will not be able to pass from the slit. This phenomenon is called polarization. Polarization occurs only in case of transverse waves.

I hope you have understood the polarization effect. Now, we are ready to discuss some examples of a transverse wave.

Examples of Transverse Wave

  • Vibration in a string tied to a wall is the most straightforward example of a transverse wave that we can visualize.
  • Did not you ever throw a pebble into the pond? The water surface moves up and down to create circular ripples, and the wave moves radially outwards from the center. This is called a water ripple. The vibration of the water molecules is perpendicular to the direction of the wave propagation. Thus, this is an example of a transverse wave.
  • A light wave is another example. Here electric and magnetic field vibrates perpendicular to the direction of the propagation of light. Please note that here there is no vibration of particles. Here the vibration is associated with the electric and magnetic field.
  • Did you ever think, despite being so distant how does the sun make us hot? Heat can travel in the vacuum by a method known as radiation. In radiation method heat transfers as a transverse wave. Two other methods of heat transfer are conduction and convection, respectively. They are not associated with the wave nature of heat. You May Also Like: Examples of Heat
  • Radio wave, Infrared, Microwave, Ultraviolet ray, X-ray, Gamma-ray all belong to a common family of electromagnetic waves. And all electromagnetic waves are transverse waves.
  • Seismic S waves are transverse waves. So the rattle you feel during an earthquake is a transverse wave.
  • Most of the surface waves are transverse in nature. One such example is audience wave in a stadium.