Types of Waves

Waves provide a mechanism for the transfer of energy from one point to another, there is no transfer of any material between the points.

Waves can be classified as:

  • Mechanical OR Electromagnetic
  • Transverse OR Longitudinal
  • Progressive(travelling) OR Stationary (standing)


  • Require a medium for propagation
  • Particles of medium oscillate but do not propagate


  • Require no medium for propagation(can travel through vacuum)
  • Wave motion is in the form of oscillating electric and magnetic fields


  • Particles oscillate perpendicular to the direction of the waves
  • Does not require a medium for propagation


  • Particles oscillate parallel to the direction of propagation of the wave
  • Requires a medium for propagation

Progressive (travelling)

  • Energy of wave is transferred from one point to another
  • Profile of wave appears to be moving although the particles in the medium do not get transported along with the wave

Stationary (Standing)

  • Energy of the wave is not transferred from one point to another
  • The profile of the wave does not appear to be moving


Back To Waves (A Level)

Back To A Level Topic List

Sharing is caring:
Mini Physics

Administrator of Mini Physics. If you spot any errors or want to suggest improvements, please contact us.

Leave a Comment