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longitudinal wave

noun, Physics.
a wave in which the direction of displacement is the same as the direction of propagation, as a sound wave.
Compare transverse wave.
1930-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for longitudinal wave
  • For longitudinal wave testing, the shoe angle must be less than the first critical angle.
  • Oblique laser incident will demands complex laser optics for both transverse and longitudinal wave fronts correction.
  • Students know sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in which it propagates.
  • In a longitudinal wave, particles of the medium move in a direction parallel to the direction the wave travels.
  • Therefore this study is predominantly one of longitudinal wave propagation.
  • Sound is a longitudinal wave whose speed depends on the properties of the medium in which it propagates.
British Dictionary definitions for longitudinal wave

longitudinal wave

a wave that is propagated in the same direction as the displacement of the transmitting medium Compare transverse wave
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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longitudinal wave in Science
longitudinal wave  
A wave that oscillates back and forth on an axis that is the same as the axis along which the wave propagates. Sound waves are longitudinal waves, since the air molecules are displaced forward and backward on the same axis along which the sound travels. Compare transverse wave. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for longitudinal wave

compression wave

wave consisting of a periodic disturbance or vibration that takes place in the same direction as the advance of the wave. A coiled spring that is compressed at one end and then released experiences a wave of compression that travels its length, followed by a stretching; a point on any coil of the spring will move with the wave and return along the same path, passing through the neutral position and then reversing its motion again. Sound moving through air also compresses and rarefies the gas in the direction of travel of the sound wave as they vibrate back and forth. The P (primary) seismic waves are also longitudinal. In a longitudinal wave, each particle of matter vibrates about its normal rest position and along the axis of propagation, and all particles participating in the wave motion behave in the same manner, except that there is a progressive change in phase (q.v.) of vibration-i.e., each particle completes its cycle of reaction at a later time. The combined motions result in the advance of alternating regions of compression and rarefaction in the direction of propagation

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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