The four main wave properties are:
Below you can see two displacement-time graphs which show the properties of waves:
Wavelength (λ) is the distance between two peaks that are next to each other, or any two identical points that are next to each other. In the ‘Properties of waves’ diagram above, the wavelength is measured at the midpoint, not the peak.
Amplitude is the maximum displacement of a point on the wave. It is the distance between the midpoint and the peak of the wave, or the midpoint and the trough of the wave.
Frequency is the number of complete waves passing a point in a second. The wave equation below shows how wave speed, frequency and wavelength are related.
The time period of a wave is the time taken for a full cycle of a wave. This can be calculated when the frequency value is known. The equation to work out the time period of a wave is:
A wave has a wave speed of 255 m/s and a wavelength of 15 m. Calculate the time period of the wave.