Wave Theory Essay

Wave Theory
Wave theory is concerned with the characteristics of waves for example types and modes of travelling among other things regarding waves. Wave theory is explored in this paper as per the assignment instructions.
Wave front refers to the locus joining all the points of the same phase of oscillation. For a homogeneous medium, the wave fronts are spherical in shapes. The movement mechanism of the movement of the wave front is described using Huygens’ Principle. The principle states that each point of a wave front acts as a fresh source of secondary wavelets that spread out at the speed of light in the medium. And the new wave front at any later time is given by the forward envelope of the secondary wavelets at that at that particular time (Jain, 2009). Waves propagate through mediums. Electromagnetic wave propagates even in a vacuum. Wave propagation refers to the mode with which the waves travel. The two types of waves are transverse and longitudinal.
A uniform plane wave that is obliquely incident to a boundary between two media does give rise to transmitted and reflected waves. The transmitted wave propagates not in the same direction as the incident wave. This transmitted wave is what forms refraction and the wave that has undergoes refraction is called refracted wave. Snell’s law governs the direction of propagation of both the reflected and refracted waves. The diagram below depicts a scenario of wave reflection and refraction.
[image: ] Figure 1 (Bhargava 2012, 338) Snell’s law is used in the determination of the reflected wave path. The Snell’s law is expressed by the equation below. It is clear that the path of the refracted ray is determined by Snell’s law based on various velocities of the media in through which the wave propagate (Bhargava, 2012).
P waves (or primary waves) are the fastest seismic waves. The waves travel through gases, liquids and solids. P waves are compressional that are similar to the sound waves based on the fact that they move materials to and fro along the line which the waves move.
Therefore, the material through which the P waves move returns to their original shape and size once the wave passes by. S waves (or secondary) are relatively slower than the primary waves and only travel through solids.
The secondary waves are shear waves since they move materials orthogonally to the direction of travel thus generating shear stresses in the materials they travel through. There is no rigidity in both liquids and gases and it for this reason that the S waves cannot move through them.
The elasticity and density of materials dictate the velocities at which the S and P waves travel in the materials (Monroe & Wicande, 2009). Rayleigh waves and love waves are both surface as opposed to P waves and S waves which are body waves. Rayleigh waves (R-waves) are usually slower than the love waves and behave in a similar way as water waves. Just like water waves they move forward as the individual material particles move travel in an elliptical path bounded in a vertical plane that is oriented in the direction of the wave movement. On the other hand, love waves behave the same way as S waves. However, the individual particles move only forth and back in horizontal plane orthogonal to the direction of wave motion (Monroe & Wicande, 2009).
References Top of Form Bhargava, S. C. (2012). Electrical Measuring Instruments and Measurements. CRC Press.Top of Form Jain, M. C. (2009). Textbook of engineering physics: Pt. i. Place of publication not identified: Phi Learning.
Monroe, J. S., & Wicander, R. (2009). The changing Earth: Exploring geology and evolution. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Top of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form

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