Traveling Waves: Crash Course Physics #17

Traveling Waves: Crash Course Physics #17

Here we have an ordinary piece of rope. It’s not one of those magician’s ropes that can mysteriously put itself back together once it’s been cut it in half. And it’s not particularly strong or durable. But you might say that it does have special powers, because it’ll demonstrate for us the physics of traveling waves. Ropes and strings are really good for this kind of thing, because when you move them back and forth the movement of your hand travels through the rope as a wave. By observing what happens to this rope when we try different things with it, we’ll be able to see how waves behave. Including, how those waves sometimes disappear
completely. How’s that for a magic trick? [Theme Music] This is a typical wave. And waves form whenever there’s a disturbance
of some kind. Often, when something about the physical world changes, the information about that disturbance gradually moves outward, away from the source, in every direction. And as the information travels, it makes a
wave shape. Think about all the disturbance you cause, for example, when you jump on a trampoline. When you hit the trampoline, the downward push that you create moves the material next to it down a little bit, too. And the same goes for the material next to
that, and so on. And while that information is traveling outward,
the spot where your feet first hit the trampoline is already recovering, moving upward again, because of the tension force in the trampoline. And that moves the area next to it upward, too. This up-and-down motion gradually ripples outward, covering more and more of the trampoline. And the ripples take the shape of a wave. Waves are made up of peaks, with crests — the bumps on top — and troughs — the bumps on the bottom. They have an amplitude, which is the distance from the peaks to the middle of the wave. They also have a wavelength, which is the distance between crests — a full cycle of the wave — and a frequency, which is how many of those cycles pass through a given point every second. Multiply the wavelength by the frequency,
and you get the wave’s speed — how fast it’s going. And the wave’s speed only depends on the medium it’s traveling through. That’s why the speed of sound — which is
a wave — doesn’t depend on the sound itself. It doesn’t matter how loud or quiet it is. It just depends on whether the sound is traveling through, say, air or water. Now, there are four main kinds of waves, and we can use our rope to show the difference between some of them: A pulse wave is what happens when you move the end of the rope back and forth just one time. One lonely crest travels through the rope
— that’s the pulse. Then there’s a continuous wave, which is what happens when you keep moving the rope back and forth. In that case, your hand is acting as an oscillator. Anything that causes an oscillation or vibration can create a continuous wave. Now, things that cause simple harmonic oscillation move in such a way that they create sinusoidal waves — meaning that if you plotted the waves on a graph, they’d look a lot like the graph of sin(x). But the waves we’ve mainly been talking
about so far are transverse waves — ones in which the oscillation is perpendicular to the direction that the wave is traveling in. When a wave travels along this rope, for example,the peaks are perpendicular to the rope’s length. The same thing was mostly true for the waves that you made on the trampoline: the waves were traveling along its surface horizontally, but the peaks were vertical. But there are also longitudinal waves, where the oscillations happen in the same direction as the wave is moving. In the case of a longitudinal wave, the back-and-forth motion is more of a compression-and-expansion. These are the kinds of waves that you get
by compressing and stretching a spring — and they’re also the kinds by which sound travels, which we’ll talk more about next time. But all waves — no matter what kind they
are — have something in common: They transport energy as they travel. At a microscopic level, waves occur when the movement of one particle affects the particle next to it. And to make that next particle start moving, there has to be an energy transfer. But how can you tell how much energy a wave has? Well, remember that an object in simple harmonic motion has a total energy of one-half, times the spring constant, times the amplitude of the motion squared. Which means for a wave caused by
simple harmonic motion, every particle in the wave will also have that same total energy of (half k A squared). All of this together tells us that a wave’s
energy is proportional to its amplitude, squared. In other words, if you double the wave’s
amplitude, you get four times the energy. Triple the amplitude, you get nine times the energy. So why is the relationship between amplitude and energy transport so important? Well, the intensity of a wave is related to
the energy it transports. More specifically, its intensity is equal to its power, divided by the area it’s spread over and power is energy over time. So, changing the amplitude of a wave can change its energy — and therefore its intensity — by the square of the change in amplitude. And this relationship is extremely important for things like figuring out how much damage can be caused by the shockwaves from an earthquake. But waves also get weaker as they spread out, because they’re distributed over more area. A spherical wave, for example — one that
ripples outward in all directions — will be spread over the surface area of a sphere that gets bigger and bigger, the farther the wave travels. The surface area of a sphere is equal
to (4) times (pi) times (its radius squared). So, as a spherical wave moves farther from its source, its intensity will decrease by the square of the distance from it. Two meters away from the source, and the intensity of the wave will be 4 times less than if you were 1 meter away. Three meters away, and it’ll be 9 times
less. That’s why being just a little bit farther away from the source of an earthquake can sometimes make a huge difference. Now, let’s go back to the waves we were
making with the rope. Suppose you attach one end of the rope to a ring that’s free to move up and down on a rod. Then, with your hand, you send a pulse — in the form of a crest, rippling along it. When the pulse gets to the end of the rope, the rope slides along the rod. But then, it slides back to where it was. That motion — the sliding back — reflects
the wave back along the rope, again as a crest. But something totally different happens, if you attach the end of the rope so it’s fixed, and can’t move. Now, if you send a pulse along the rope, it
will still be reflected — but this time, as a trough. The wave was inverted. That’s because, when the pulse reached the fixed end of the rope, it was trying to slide the end of the rope upward. But it couldn’t, because the end of the
rope was fixed. So, instead, the rope got yanked downward. And the momentum from that downward movement carried the rope below the fixed end, inverting the wave. Now sometimes, multiple waves can combine. For example: Say you send two identical pulses — both crests — along a rope, one from each end. When the two pulses overlap, they’ll combine to make one crest, with a higher amplitude than the original ones. That’s called constructive interference
— the waves build on each other. Now, let’s say you do the same thing again. This time, both waves have the same amplitude,
but one’s a crest and the other is a trough. And when they overlap, the rope will be flat. It looks like the waves just disappeared! That’s called destructive interference,
when waves cancel each other out. Constructive and destructive interference
happen with all kinds of waves — pulse or continuous, transverse or longitudinal. And sometimes, we can use the effects to our advantage. Noise-canceling headphones, for example, work by analyzing the noise around you and generating a sound wave that destructively interferes
with the sound waves from that noise, canceling it out. There’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to the physics of sound, but we’ll save that for next time. Today, you learned about traveling waves, and how their frequency, wavelength, and speed are all connected. We also talked about different types of waves,
including pulse, continuous, transverse, and longitudinal waves, and how they all transport
energy. Finally, we discussed reflection and interference. Crash Course Physics is produced in association
with PBS Digital Studios. You can head over to their channel to check
out amazing shows like Physics Girl, Shank’s FX, and PBS Space Time. This episode of Crash Course was filmed in
the Doctor Cheryl C. Kinney Crash Course Studio with the help of these amazing people and
our equally amazing graphics team is Thought Cafe

100 thoughts on “Traveling Waves: Crash Course Physics #17

  1. ? here's a magic trick , what did I come here for?

    ? not the waves

    ? best episode of crash course ever

    let's just keep putting you on episodes

    ? we can LEARN all day ?

  2. So many foreign words and fast talking, I can't understand well. I reckon you to talk at a decent speed, even if English is your main language physics are not like reading a book you need to understand the mechanics rather than just reading

  3. So if a single pulse traveling left along a rope as a trough hits a fixed end and comes back to the right as a crest, could we say the energy it has before hitting the end is equivalent to the energy it has after since the crest is opposite the trough and the direction is opposite before and after, so energy is completely conserved?

  4. Why is it necessary to edit out all the pauses??? It makes the information feel like one long run-on sentence. I get editing for time but it makes the presentation quite annoying.

  5. This is a huge improvement in the speaker's voice. She's speaking more slowly and anunciating. The auto-generated captions only had six mistakes.

  6. Everything about this young woman is attractive, she makes waves for anyone for whom she has attention. I can imagine children crowding around her, old people truly sad to see her leave a room, friends and boyfriends captivated when she places her attention on them. Or maybe it was just the fine work of the sound guy, the lighting guy, the writer, and the editor but I can understand where the concept of goddesses comes from from this video. The reciting of the formula for the surface area of a sphere, I am going to scroll back and play it now repeatedly to bask in the euphoria. Thank you Crash Course.

  7. I kept scrolling and I couldnโ€™t find the comment I was looking for. So Iโ€™m just gonna straight-up say it, she is very pretty.


  9. she doesn't repeat herself, focused, I hope other guys in @CrashCourse do the same. I always put astronomy videos' playback speed at 1.75

  10. Very good visually but the dialogue is way too fast and many assumptions are made about the learners' existing knowledge. I'd have broken down the content into more 'digestible' pieces and used a simpler vocabulary. These videos are good for 'final exam' revision but not so good for 'first encounters'.

  11. Please spake slowly whenyou explain the leason I can't understand english very well when someone speak english faster

  12. Y'all ever seen that meme with a picture of a dog holding his own leash and the caption is "When the teacher is useless so you have to learn everything on your own." I'm in that situation now and this stuff is really gonna help.

  13. How did you animated this? Which application did you use? Please reply to me I beg ya.. Then I will sub to you sorry late comment after 3 years

  14. she is amazing if u want to revise or make sure u understand many things well, otherwise she talks so quickly if it is your first time trying to understand those concepts.

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