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A wave is a kind of oscillation (disturbance) that travels through space and matter. Wave motions transfer energy from one place to another.

Waves play an important role in our daily life. This is because waves are a carrier of energy and information over large distances. Waves require some oscillating or vibrating source. Ocean surface waves were the first known waves. Later, other kinds were discovered.

Types of waves


In physics and technology, a wave (physics) carries energy that creates visible light, sound, and many other things. There are two categories of waves.

  • Mechanical waves
  • Electromagnetic waves

Mechanical waves

Waves which require any medium for their propagation are called mechanical waves.

One example of a mechanical wave is sound.

Sound can travel through air, water, or solids, but it can't travel through a vacuum. It needs the medium to help it travel.

Other examples include water waves, seismic waves, and waves traveling through a spring.

Electromagnetic waves


Waves which do not require any medium for their propagation are called electromagnetic waves.

For example: