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6 Fundamental Differences Between Light and Sound Wave


There are some basic and fundamental properties peculiar to a light and sound wave that differentiates one from the other. These differences account for the ways light and sound waves have been studied and their principles applied in technological advancement in various industrial production processes, military warfare and entertainment.

Sound waves have found applications in musical instruments, alarm systems, lous speakers and ultrasound machines. Sound waves have also been used in detecting flaws in railway system and underwater welding technology.

Light waves are used in photography, laser systems, x-ray machines, CT scans and MRI scans. Light waves are also used in telecommunications such as in fibre optic technology,  computer monitor systems and camera lighting systems.

Here are 6 of these fundamental differences between light waves and sound waves. Thus:

1. waves are due to vibrating layers or particles of the medium concerned.

2. Light can travel through a vacuum, but sound cannot travel through a vacuum.

3. Vibrations in light waves are perpendicular to the direction along which the light travels while vibrations of the particles in sound waves are in the same direction as that along which the sound travels.

4. A Sound wave is regarded as Longitudinal waves while light waves are referred to as transverse waves.

5. Sound wave can be reflected and refracted just as in light waves, and can give rise to interference phenomena; however, no polarization phenomena can be obtained with sound waves unlike light waves. This is because they are longitudinal waves.

6. Light travels faster than sound. Light travels at a velocity of 3×108 m/s2  sound travels at a velocity of 480m/s2

The above differences between these two types of waves gives a clear insight that both of these can be manipulated in the manufacture of various instruments of light and acoustics such as telescopes and air musical instruments respectively.

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