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P1.5 Waves


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Mechanical waves
Vibration that travels through a substance.
Electromagnetic wave
Electric and magnetic disturbance that transfers energy from one place to another.
Vibrates
Oscillate rapidly (or move to and fro rapidly about a certain position).
Oscillates
Move to and fro about a certain position along a line.
Perpendicular
At right angles.
Transverse wave
Wave in which the vibrations are perpendicular to the direction of the energy transfer.
Longitudinal wave
Wave in which the vibrations are parallel to the direction of energy transfer.
Compressions
Squeezed together.
Rarefaction
Stretched apart.
Amplitude
The height of a wave crest or a wave trough of a transverse wave from the rest position.
Wavelength
The distance from one wave crest to the next wave crest (along the waves).
Frequency
The number of wave crests passing a fixed point every second.
Speed
Distance moved divided by time taken.
Plane Mirror
A flat mirror.
Normal
Straight line through a surface or boundary perpendicular to the surface or boundary.
Angle of incidence
Angle between the incidence ray and the normal.
Angle of reflection
Angle between the reflected ray and the normal.
Virtual image
An image formed where light rays appear to come from.
Real image
An image formed where light rays meet.
Refraction
The change of direction of a light ray when it passes across a boundary between two transparent substances (including air).
Boundary
Line along which two substances meet.
Diffraction
The spreading of waves when they pass through a gap or around the edges of an obstacle which has a similar size as the wavelengh of the waves.
Ultrasound waves
Sound wave at frequencies greater than 20 000Hz which is the upper frequency of the human ear.
Echo
Reflection of sound that can be heard.
Pitch
The pitch of a sound increases if the frequency of the sound waves increases.
Resonate
When sound vibrations build up in a musical instrument and cause the sound from the instrument to become much louder.