How To Find Amplitude Of Transverse Wave: Problems, Examples And Facts 

In this article we will discuss transverse wave, different aspects of it and how to find amplitude of transverse wave.

The greatest height obtained by the particles in the vertical direction while traveling forward horizontally is the amplitude of the transverse. There are two methods for determining the transverse wave’s amplitude; (1) by the graph, (2) from the equation of wave.   

By the graphical method, the distance from rest to trough is amplitude or distance from rest to crest, so we calculate the amplitude of the transverse wave by measuring the distance directly from the graph. 

Coming to the second method, we take the value of A from the wave equation directly. In wave-equation, the amplitude is expressed by A. So, it’s very easy to recognize the value of amplitude from the wave equation. 

A transverse wave is one in that the medium’s components are shifted in a direction that normal to the power transmission direction. When a cable is extended horizontally and the terminus is jiggled backward and forth over a vertical plane, a transverse wave is formed. If a photograph of that kind of a transverse wave could be obtained, the shape of the rope would be stuck in place. 

The peak of a wave is the spot of the medium that has the highest rising or upwards displacement from its equilibrium position. A wave’s trough is the spot of the medium where the maximum level of downward or negative displacement from the equilibrium state may be seen. The largest quantity of movement of a component on the medium from its equilibrium state is known as the height of a wave.

The amplitude is, in a view, the space between the bottom and crest. From the equilibrium state to the trough point, the amplitude may also be monitored. In a transverse wave, the element dislocation is perpendicular to the wave propagation plane. From the left side to the right side, 1-d transverse plane wave perpetuates.

The elements do not move with the wave; rather, they just oscillate up and down at their individual resting locations as the wave passes by. 

Because of the compressive stress created, transverse waves typically arise in elastic materials; the vibrations in this situation are the displacement of the fine materials far from their stable state in planes normal to the wave propagation. The particular tensile distortion of the material is correlated with such displacements.

As a result, this sort of transverse wave is referred to as a shear wave. Even at equilibrium, transverse waves can’t travel within a liquid column since they can’t prevent shear stresses. In seismology, shear waves are also known as secondary waves or S-waves.  

Transverse waves differ from longitudinal waves in that the vibrations happen in the wave’s plane. A noise wave or “pressure wave” in gases, liquids, or solids, whose fluctuations produce pressure and contraction of the substance via that the wave is traveling, is a great example of a longitudinal wave. In geophysics, compression waves are referred to as “primary waves,” or “P-waves.” 

You may pick two mutually perpendicular axes of polarization and describe every wave linearly polarized in some other direction as a linear combo (mixing) of such two waves when the medium is linear and enables various distinct displacement orientations for the equal traveling orientation. 

A circularly or elliptically polarized wave is created by merging two waves having the same frequency, velocity, and direction of travel, but separate periods and distinct displacement orientations. Rather than traveling back and forth, the components in such a wave have circular or elliptical paths. 

Returning to the above-mentioned thought exercise with a taut thread may aid comprehension. It’s worth noting that instead of sliding your palm up and down, you may unleash waves on the string by extending your palm to the right and left. This is a crucial point.

The waves may go in two distinct (orthogonal) orientations. (This is true for any two right-angled orientations; upward and downwards, as well as right and left, were selected for clarity.) Linearly polarized waves are those created by moving your hand in a straight line. 

And envision your palm traveling in a circle. A spiral wave will be created on the rope as a result of your movements. Your palm is going upward and downwards and horizontally at the same time. The horizontal motion maxima is a quarter wavelength (or a quarter of the distance across the circle, or 90 ° or /2 radians) apart from the upward and downward movement peaks.

The dislocation of the rope will define a similar circle as your palm at any place across the rope but will be postponed by the wave’s transmission speed. You may also pick whether you want to swing your palm in a clockwise or counter clockwise circle. Right and left circularly polarized waves to arise from such periodic circular movements. 

A consistent movement will define an ellipse and create elliptically polarized waves to the degree that your circle is imprecise. Your ellipse will form a straight line at its most eccentric point, resulting in a polarization along the ellipse’s primary axis.

An elliptical motion may usually be dissected into two orthogonal linear movements of different amplitude and phase, with circular polarization being the exception when the two linear movements have similar amplitude. 


Problem 1 

A transverse wave on string is expressed as y(x,t)=(0.45m)cosπ (0.2m-1)x + π(100s-1)t. Find amplitude of transverse wave.


We will compare the given equation with transverse wave mathematical expression that isy(x,t)=A sin(kx-ω t+π ).

From above expression, the value of amplitude of transverse wave on string is 0.45 meters. 

Problem 2  

A sailor observes that the waves on the water’s top are causing his boat to go up and down in a predictable pattern. The boat travels a total height of 5.0 m in 6.0 seconds from its maximum height to its lowest position. The wave peaks are 10.0 meters away, according to the sailor. What will we the amplitude of wave formed? 


In this solution first we will draw the graph of boat’s movement. 

how to find amplitude of transverse wave
Graph of boat travelling

From the above graph, the distance between crest to trough is 5.0 meters. So, the amplitude (A) of the wave is  A= 5/2 that means A=2.5 meters.

Frequently asked questions |FAQs  

Q. The transverse and longitudinal waves have distinct orientations. 

Ans. Whenever transverse waves are encountered, the medium flows normal to the wave’s direction. Longitudinal waves require the medium to follow the wave’s axis in a linear line.  

Q. What is the meaning of transverse direction? 

Ans. The direction in which the wave moves is referred to as “transverse.” The transverse orientation is upward and downwards if the wave is traveling from left to right. With waves on a string, this is exactly what will unfold. 

Q. Is there a difference between a sound wave and a transverse wave? 

Ans. The studies showed that noise in the air, or noise in fluids, may be a transverse wave with complete vector qualities like spin and angular momentum, much like light. 

Q. Do light waves have longitudinal or transverse nature? 

Ans. Light waves are transverse wave. 

The essence of all types of electromagnetic transmission is transverse. In a vacuum, such as space, all electromagnetic waves travel at the same rate. Transverse waves include water waves and S waves. 


I am Sakshi Sharma, I have completed my post-graduation in applied physics. I like to explore in different areas and article writing is one of them. In my articles, I try to present physics in most understanding manner for the readers.

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