Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Transverse Waves

  • Displacements of the particles are perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave.
  • Transverse waves look as crests and troughs propagating in the medium.
  • Transverse waves can only be transmitted in solids or on the surface of the liquids.
  • In case of a transverse wave, the displacement - distance graph  gives the actual picture of the wave itself.

Longitudinal Waves

  • Displacements of the particles are along the direction of propagation of the wave.
  • Longitudinal waves give the appearance of alternate compression and rarefaction moving forward.
  • Longitudinal waves can travel in solids, liquids and gases.
  • In case of longitudinal waves, the graph only represents the displacement of the particles at different points at a given time.