Wave Types 

Mechanical Waves 

Electromagnetic Waves 

Matter Waves 



 A mechanical, also called material wave, is a wave that needs a medium to travel. Mechanical waves cause a local oscillation of material. The oscillating material does not move far from its initial equilibrium position. Mechanical waves transport energy only. This energy propagates in the same direction as the wave. Any kind of wave (mechanical or electromagnetic) has a certain energy. No material is transported as a result of mechanical waves.

A mechanical wave requires an initial energy input. Once this initial energy is added, the wave travels through the medium until all its energy is transferred. In contrast, electromagnetic waves require no medium, but can still travel through one.

One important property of mechanical waves is that their amplitudes possess an unusual form, displacement divided by reduced wavelength. When this gets comparable to unity, significant nonlinear effects such as harmonic generation may occur, and, if large enough, may result in chaotic effects. For example, waves on the surface of a body of water break when this dimensionless amplitude exceeds 1, resulting in a foam on the surface and turbulent mixing.

The three types of mechanical waves are: transverse waves, longitudinal waves, and surface waves.



 Electromagnetic waves is a form of energy emitted and absorbed by charged particles, which exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space. Electromagnetic waves have both electric and magnetic field components, which stand in a fixed ratio of intensity to each other, and which oscillate in phase perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation. In vacuum, electromagnetic radiation propagates at a characteristic speed, the speed of light.

Oh by the way electromagnetic waves is also known as light which includes gamma rays to radio ways.



 In quantum mechanics, the concept of matter waves or de Broglie waves reflects the wave–particle duality of matter. The theory was proposed by Louis de Broglie in 1924 in his PhD thesis.  The de Broglie relations show that the wavelength is inversely proportional to the momentum of a particle and is also called de Broglie wavelength. Also the frequency of matter waves, as deduced by de Broglie, is directly proportional to the particle's total energy, i.e. the sum of particle's Kinetic energy and rest energy.

there are other types of waves (like gravitational waves) but we will not covered in this class