# Transverse and longitudinal waves

## Transverse waves

In traverse waves the particles of the medium vibrate at right angles to the direction that the energy travels. This is where the name transverse comes from - it means 'across'. All of the electromagnetic waves, eg light, , are , as are water waves.

### Step one

A hand holding a rope held taught and horizontal.

### Step two

A hand jerked down to produce a sine wave shape in the rope.

### Step three

A hand jerked up to continue the sine wave motion in the rope.

## Longitudinal waves

With sound waves, the energy travels along in the same direction as the particles vibrate. This type of wave is known as a , so named because the energy travels along the direction of vibration of the particles.

### Step one

A hand holding a stationary spring stretched horizontally.

### Step two

A hand jerked forward to produce a compressed area in the spring.

### Step three

The compressed area in the spring travels along its length.