Electromagnetic Waves

By Maggie McGonagle

Electromagnetic Spectrum Video

Here is a video that explains the electromagnetic spectrum.

What Kind of Disturbance Creates an Electromagnetic Wave?

When charged particles (such as protons and electrons) move, they create electromagnetic fields. These electromagnetic fields then transport electromagnetic radiation, creating electromagnetic waves.

What Are Some of the Differences Between Electromagnetic Waves and Mechanical Waves?

The main difference between electromagnetic waves and mechanical waves is the fact that electromagnetic waves do not need a medium to pass through; in other words, electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum. Some other differneces between mechanical and electromagnetic waves are their speed and whether or not they can be polarized. Mechanical waves are slower than electromagnetic waves. Mechanical waves can also be transverse or longitudinal, whereas electromagnetic waves can only be transverse. Longitudinal waves cannot be polarized, meaning that all electromagnetic waves can be polarized, but only some mechanical waves can be polarized.

The Different Ranges of The Electromagnetic Spectrum

There are different ranges in the Electromagnetic Spectrum, the waves are broken down into categories of radio waves, microwaves, infared waves, visable light waves, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays; radio waves being the weakest and gamma rays being the strongest.
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Visable Light Waves

Visabl light waves have wavelengths of 4 x 10-7 - 7 x 10-7 m and a frequecy of 4 x 1014 - 7.5 x 1014 Hz. Energy (J): 3 x 10-19 - 5 x 10-19

Everyday Uses for Electromagnetic Waves

Radio Waves:

1. Used to transmit signals to radios

2. Used for aircraft cimmunication


1. Used to cook food in a microwave

2. Wifi uses microwaves


1. Night goggles use infared radiation

2. TV remote controls use infared to transmit signals to your TV

Visable Light Waves:

1. Visable light is used in the form of lasers to perform certain surgeries

2. Lasers are also used in laser printing

Ultraviolet Radiation:

1. Ultraviolet radiation is used to detect forged currency

2. Food and Drug companies often use ultraviolet lamps to sterilize their products


1. Used by doctors to examine your bone structure

2. Used in airport security to check luggage

Gamma Rays:

1. Used to kill cancer cells

2. Used to sterilize medical equipment