Electromagnetic Waves

By Jenna Powell

What kind of disturbance creates an EM wave?

When a magnetic field changes, it causes a changing electric field and vice versa because the two are linked. These two changes form electromagnetic waves.

How are electromagnetic waves different from mechanical waves?

Although both electromagnetic wave and mechanical waves transport energy, they are not the same. For example, unlike electromagnetic waves, mechanical waves must have a medium in order to transport energy. Electromagnetic waves, however, use the vacuum of outer space to transport energy. Also, mechanical waves consist of only one part while electromagnetic waves consist of two parts- the electric part and the magnetic part.

Description of each range of the electromagnetic spectrum

Gamma Ray: Gamma rays have wavelengths that are less than 0.01 nanometers, which is the shortest wavelength. This means that they have the highest frequency and energy.

X-ray: The wavelengths of X-rays can range between 0.01 to 10 nm. They have lower frequencies and energy than gamma rays.

Ultra-violet: Ultra-violet waves have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies than X-rays. They have lower energy than X-ray but higher than visible light.

Visible light: Visible light waves have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies than ultraviolet waves. They have lower energy than ultra-violet waves but higher than infrared waves.

Infrared: Infrared waves have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies than visible light waves. They have lower energy than visible light but higher than microwaves.

Microwave: Microwaves have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies than visible light. They have lower energy than infrared but higher than radio.

Radio: Radio waves are the longest waves, longer than 1 mm. Because they are the longest, they also have the lowest energy. This means that they also have the highest frequency.

How Each Type of Wave is Used in Everyday Life

Radio- television signals and radio signals

Microwave- cooking and phone calls

Infrared- toasters and heaters

Visible light- used for seeing

Ultra-violet- tanning beds and fluorescent lights

X-ray- images of bones and for airport security scanners

Gamma Ray- for sterilization of surgical tools and to kill cancer cells

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Electromagnetic Waves