A wave is a disturbance in a medium originates from some vibrating source and travels in a form of alternating troughs and crests. Every wave has five basic characteristics such as wavelength, wave number, amplitude, velocity, and frequency. In this article, you will learn about these characteristics.
Properties of a wave
1) Wavelength ( ƛ )
It is the distance between two successive crests or troughs in a wave is known as wavelength. Generally, it is expressed in centimeter or Angstron. It is denoted by ƛ (lambda).
2) Frequency ( ν )
It is the number of waves passing through a given point in unit time. It is denoted by ν (nu) and expressed in Hertz (Hz). Frequency is inversely proportional to the wavelength.
The distance traveled by the wave in one second is called its velocity. Mathematically it is given by,
c = νƛ
where ν is the frequency of a wave
ƛ is the wavelength of a wave
It is defined as the maximum displacement of a particle from the mean position. Also, it can be defined as the height of crest or depth of trough of a wave. The brightness of the beam of light is determined by the amplitude of the wave.
5) Wave number
It is the number of waves per unit length. It is equal to the inverse of wavelength. If the wavelength is expressed in centimeters then wave number is the number of wavelengths per unit centimeters.